Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 3: The US Open

On Saturday, we went to Pebble Beach for the third round of the U.S. Open Championship (thanks Mom and Dad W!).  It was my first visit to a golf tournament and I had a lot of fun.  Pebble Beach is a gorgeous course in the midst of one of my favorite places in the world, the scenic seventeen mile drive.  Most of the holes have stunning views of the ocean, rocky coastline and cypress trees.  Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, they do not allow cameras or cell phones so I have no pictures of the event to share.  We started out by walking the entire course in order from the first hole and followed several different pairings, including Sergio Garcia, Ricky Barnes, Davis Love III who had a great start to the day.  It was great because we really saw a variety of shots and got to be really close to players; we were literally a feet or two away from Pablo Martin as he shot from the rough.  At the 17th hole, we fortuitously found great seats in the bleachers where we spent the rest of the afternoon so that we could see more pairings.  It was a great spot, we were just a couple rows above the players teeing off on the 17th hole, which is a gorgeous (and challenging) 208 yard par 3 hole that faces the ocean.  It was also the perfect spot because we could see the players putting on hole 3 and teeing off on hole 4, so there was a lot of continuous action.  They also had to walk directly in front of us across the tee for the 17th hole as they were going from hole 3 o hole 4.  We pretty much stayed for an entire round; we watched Tiger Woods tee off on hole 4 right as we arrived and saw him complete the 17th hole (which he birdied).  We caught up with him on the 18th hole, which he also birdied (3 birdies in a row on the last 3 holes ending with a 66, his best day of golf since he's been back).  I was surprised at how hugely excited and supportive the crowd was for Tiger; he probably got the most cheers of the day next to Phil Mickelson (who seems to have lost quite a bit of weight and really is a nice guy, even joking with the crowd before teeing off on the 4th hole).  We also watched Mickelson (who was tied in second place going into Saturday), Vijay Singh (poor guy, he was paired with Tiger and the media circus and huge crowds following Tiger), Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Ian Poulter, Lucas Glover, Ryo Ishikawa (who had really cool black and white checked pants and the third largest media following behind Tiger and Phil) a ton of other people, and the eventual winner, Graeme McDowell.  It is really a special experience to watch the tournament live; you just get to see so many things that aren't showed on camera, particularly the interaction of the players amongst themselves and their interaction with the crowds.  It was such a fun and beautiful day.

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