As you know from my earlier blog, I snagged tickets to this past weekend’s AT&T Classic at nearby Sugarloaf Country Club in Duluth, GA. For many and various reasons, no really big names played this weekend. There were no Tiger’s, no Mickelsons. Arguably the biggest name there was recent Master’s winner Zach Johnson who went on to win. It’s a funny thing about these PGA events. I understand that the players schedule which ones they’ll play months in advance, and they must pay a fee to do so. Even still, many don’t show up to play. For instance, Phil Mickelson won last week, so he decided to skip this week. I can’t say I blame him, but what gets me, are how the other player’s respond.
Now me, if I’m really good at golf, but there are one or two people better than me, and one (or both) of those people are skipping an event, I’m damn-sure gonna show up and play. I mean, if I’m playing against a field of people that I can beat 3 out of 4 days in a week, you can bet it’s worth it to me. And the AT&T Classic winner was walking away with nearly $1 million, so it’s not like it was a low-paying gig either.
But anyway, my hats off to the organizers. We arrived around 11:30 and immediately got on a bus and was shuttled to a drop-off point near the 17th fairway. Crowds were manageble along the course due to the sheer length of the thing. I mean, with several thousands yards of golf course and a couple of thousand bench seats, crowd control was pretty easy.
We walked back and forth from the 15th-17th greens, and finally ended up at the 18th late in the afternoon where the real circus was going on. Between the corporate sponsors and their bar-b-que’s and open bars, and the under-18 entitlement crowd and their trust-fund parents living it up, there wasn’t much room to do much but sit and bask in the glow of all that money.
We watched about four group drive down the 18th fairway, most opting to lay it up short rather than pitch it across the water and risk a penalty shot. There were some good moments on the green, but most seemed just glad to be off the course so that they could go grab a beer to wash down their Vicodin. Most were gracious enough to sign some autographs for the kids and that always warms my heart.
All in all it was a good day. Got there late, left there early and still home in time to help with the fussy baby. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.