After a chaotic Saturday at the 2010 US Open down in Pebble Beach, where we hardly saw any golf played just massive galleries, I was content to watch the 2012 Open at Olympic in the comfort of my living room. Having been lucky enough to have played the Lake Course a couple of times, there was no pressing need for me to go see the venue in person. But as US Open week got into full swing, I knew I'd regret not going, even if it meant following huge galleries all day.
Decided on Thursday, figuring it would be relatively quiet the first round. People will be working, only hardcore golf fans will be out there, so I thought. Wrong. It still amazes me how many fans the US Open attracts. There is no way that many people are "golfers" but that many people do enjoy going to our national championship. I arrived at Olympic at 6:25am and there were probably 5K fans already there. I think a lot of people make vactions out of the Open, like the gentlemen from Utah I chatted with on BART or my family I sat next to on shuttle ride to Olympic.
This time around I paid a premium for a "Trophy Club" ticket. Completely worth it and highly recommended. Some of the benfits,
- real restrooms, not porta potties
- shorter lines for food and drinks (including alcoholic drinks)
- dozens of HD televisions
- covered, air-conditioned seating
This allowed me to go out, watch some on-course action, then come back to the TC to rest, watch the broadcast. I ended up staying until 7pm but it didn't feel too tiring because I was able to make these pitstops.
Some highlights. Saw Tiger, Phil and Bubba tee off at 7:30am. After they hit, I hang back a little to let the crowds go. Then I'm casually making my way down the fairway when I see Phil and Bones literally 20 feet in front of me walking sideways toward the trees, looking concerned. I knew Phil hooked his drive but didn't realize it was that bad. As it turned out, he couldn't find his ball and had to re-tee.
On the 16th hole, the ridiculously long and difficult par 5, was almost hit not once but 3 times by the balls of Nick Watney, Bill Haas and amateur Jordan Spieth. Spieth was first to tee off and his ball lands about 10 feet to the left of me and literally rolls between my legs as I tried to get out of the way. 30 seconds later Watney's ball lands about 15 feet to my left, but it was buried in the rough and didn't roll much toward me. Haas' ball was a little closer to the fairway.
Later on, while still at the 16th watching other big name groups go through, I hear a loud roar coming from the 17th. Radio broadcast says Watney double eagles, holes out from the fairway on a par 5.
Saw Ian Poulter eagle the 7th. That guy is just too flashy for me. I understand Rickie Fowler being flashy, the guy's 23 years old. But Poulter must be in his early/mid 30s and he's walking around like yellow bird. But hey, to each his own.
Ended the day by picking up some merchandise. Got a US Open poster for my naked closet door,
and a headcover for the driver (tire of giving TaylorMade free marketing),
Also picked up a nice Polo pullover.
Definitely got my money's worth, spent more than 12 hours at Olympic. My only complaint, no burger dogs! I guess the members want to keep those tasty burger dogs to themselves.