Friday, August 17, 2007

Weekend with the Guys

(written by Michael)

This weekend most of the groomsmen in our wedding came to Tulsa for the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Wes had his second experience in his life in a plane and had the lady next to him rubbing his back, asking him not to throw up and start the chain reaction down the row. Craig flew in from California where he had been visiting Jess in perfect weather. I think he complained it was hot while we were still in the air conditioned airport. Myers and Karen may have had the easiest trip as they got off from work a little early and drove up. I take back the easiest trip part…Jamie lives two doors down so his trip was on foot. Roman definitely had the longest trip as he flew in from South Carolina after having run for 35 minutes directly following a 45 minute bike ride. Triathalons sound terrible. Brian wasn’t able to come up because he was in a wedding last weekend in Dallas.

We tried to show everyone bits and pieces of Tulsa whether it was lunch at Utica Square, dinner and a cigar out at the Riverwalk, or to everyone’s favorite interurban grill Baxter’s downtown and its famous honey pepper bacon burger. Wes kept calling it the honey butter burger or something with butter, but it was good nonetheless. Plus Karen won a giant golf bag in a giveaway at the restaurant. We also found some time to enjoy/suffer the sun at the pool and catch a movie.

Craig and Meredith cooked us pancakes and muffins for breakfast on Saturday so we grabbed a quick bite at BBD Sunday morning before golf. We got out to the course between noon and 1 and the heat was brutal. Parking and all that was actually very organized and easy to deal with. We walked in to the grounds and went to the PGA store first to check out all the memorabilia. Just the walk from where the shuttles dropped us off, through the gates, and to the store had us sweating. I’ve never seen so many polos and hats in my life. Craig picked up some gifts, and Roman and I bought replica 18th hole flags that were really awkward to carry around all day.

From there it was out to the course. We think Tiger was practicing on the putting green as we were trying to make our way in because everyone was standing around packed in a walkway next to the green like cattle. We eventually found an area under some trees between the 9th and 18th fairways that was pretty breezy and gave us a slight view of the tee box on #1.

Big John Daly nearly killed us with an errant drive at 9. It hit the tree limbs above us and fell down on a lady about 15 feet away. I know the marshals are supposed to find the ball and make sure people don’t mess with it, but all these fans started sprinting after it too as it rolled down the hill. It’s a golf ball! I’ve never seen his ball and I promise I can describe it. Maybe people wanted to see if he had a Hooters logo on his ball that matched his shirt. He finally made his way down and we had to spread apart like the Red Sea to give him an alley to hit through. He managed to hit some more branches and get it to squirt out. As he walked past us you could tell he was really hot and tired and he was only halfway done.

We heard them announce Tiger on the first tee from where we were the crowd went crazy. He teed off and then they announced his playing partner Stephen Ames. That was the most pathetic golf clap I’ve ever heard. I felt bad for the guy. Once he had teed off they made their way down and you saw the bleachers next to the tee box empty out like they were on fire and oceans of people made their way down each side of the first fairway.

Shortly after that Craig found us a spot on a hill that was right next to the 10th tee box and overlooked the 18th green. It was next to a couple of TV towers so we were only in the sun for an hour or so before they shaded us. It was pretty cool to watch everyone finish off their rounds on the 18th as well as being able to turn around and see all these pro golfers no more than 30 feet away on the tee box behind us.

Ernie Els stared down the 10th fairway for a bit before he reached for his bag. This was a dog leg right and most everyone had been playing it safe and hitting an iron. He grabs his driver and the crowd lets him hear their excitement. We were close enough to see him break a grin at all the cheering. He steps up and crushes this drive over the trees. I think it may have gone into orbit temporarily.

Tiger came up a couple of groups later and he and his caddie each had a banana before he teed off. Tiger walked over and threw his peel away and a lady definitely grabbed it out of the trash within a couple of minutes. He teed off and was business as usual. You can tell he’s changed since he first turned pro, but you can’t tell how massive he really is until you see him that close up. He’s a beast.

The rest of the day we watched guys play the 18th and enjoyed some golf course burgers. Not one person birdied that hole all day so we saw a ton of pars and worse. You could see the crowd start to swell once Tiger got to the 18th. Els and Woody Austin made a brief challenge early in the day but Tiger was able to hold them off without too much trouble. It was a pretty surreal scene when he walked up the 18th fairway and reappeared on the 18th green. He had to tip his hat multiple times at the ovation. He nearly sank a considerably long birdie putt, but finished it off with the par and went immediately to his caddie. It was a lot of fun to watch and it’s pretty neat to say that we saw Tiger Woods win one of his majors when he will most likely break the record some day.

It was great to see everyone, and even better that they got to see some more of Tulsa since some of them had previously only been in town for a day or so at a time. We had a great time and I’m excited to get together again in a couple of months!


Wes said...

Mmmmm ... Honey Butter Bacon Burgers! Delicious.
Forget a couple of months! How about this weekend?
Thanks for having us Mike; and thanks to Meredith for putting up with us! I know we get out of control sometimes.

Charles B said...

Nice job Michael! Glad to see some male input on this site. Did you take the Tiger photo or did that come from somewhere else? Great photo no matter who did it. We enjoyed visiting with you, Meredith, your folks and friends at the shower.


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