Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day at Hazeltine National Golf Club for the last day of practice rounds of the 2009 PGA Championship. Our agency has been handling the media relations for the last two years and now that it’s tournament week we have a fantastic front-row seat in the media center. I spent most of my day snapping pictures (with my pocket camera – really professional), tracking player movement and looking for additional behind-the-scenes action to share via Twitter.
I have to admit I get nostalgic every time I go to Hazeltine. No, I didn’t go there when I was little but my grandparents belonged to one of the country clubs in my hometown when I was growing up and my parents belonged to the other one for a while. My grandma Dorothy was an avid golfer and would take us out to the club with her, driving us around in the golf cart and treating us to lunch on the patio. (I always ordered the grilled cheese with tomato.) They’re some of my best memories with my grandma.
So even though I had never been to Hazeltine until the first press conference there more than a year ago, being surrounded by the beautiful course and strolling through the clubhouse reminds me of great summers at the club and golf with Grandma.
I had two big highlights of the day:
#1 My media pass got us access to a front-row view of the players at the practice range. During one of my many visits down there to snap pictures, I happened to stumble upon Mr. Tiger Woods himself. I realize it’s pretty cliche to be star-struck by the biggest name in the sport but I have to admit I was secretly jumping up and down inside when I was standing just 8 feet from him. I was also drooling because the first thing I noticed is that he’s much hotter than I ever realized! MEOW!
I then did notice something actually golf-related. Tiger’s drives were so long he had to stand there for a few seconds to see where it went. (In stark contrast to when I go to the driving range, shank it to the left and it lands 75 yards away from me.)
#2 Ice Cream Snickers Bars. The only time I ever got Ice Cream Snickers bars was at Grandma Dorothy’s house. You could always count on them being there and you better believe I had one every chance I got. In the media dining center yesterday there was a cooler of ice cream treats and the first thing I spotted was the Snickers bar. I’m sure Grandma Dorothy was looking down smiling as I stood on the porch of the media center, eating my ice cream bar and watching Vijay Singh tee off on the practice range.
This one’s for you, Grandma Dorothy!
In all seriousness, it was a really cool day. It was two years of work coming together, 36,000 excited golf fans and the biggest names in golf all in one day.