First things first, the blanket situation from night one, was rectified. I loaded up on what I could find around the condo, and I slept like a baby. Now that that’s out of the way, lets get down to the important stuff:
Lucky Charms. That’s what I had for breakfast.
Ok seriously. The weather today is pretty crappy again; overcast and relatively cold. I decided to forego all normal rationalization and go with the mindset that, “well, if its raining, none of the other reporters will be out there.” I was wrong, but it was a good lie to motivate myself to get up and at ’em.
I arrived at the course around noon today, sticking with the Rock station that got me through the drive yesterday. It seemed to be some sort of Jimi Hendrix hour, which was fine by me.
Immediately after getting out of the shuttle (no Mark from Pittsburgh today), I could smell the food in the media centre. Roast, Potatoes, Burgers, Hot dogs, you name it.
In case you haven’t noticed, I love me some M&M Peanuts. For all I know the guy beside me could have been allergic. Wasn’t stopping me one bit.
After gobbling that down I attempted to plan my route for the afternoon. No Tee-times are really made available, it’s more of a show up with your buddies and put a time on the board type of thing. Explains why Patrick Reed plays his practice rounds alone.
Based off of that board I knew I had some time to kill before any of those guys would be done and I could attempt to trick them into speaking with me. So, the Putting Green and Driving Range were my first stalking grounds. Notice a trend? (Hint: its a lot of umbrellas)
I will blame the shaky camera work on the sugar from the M&M’s.
Any-who, this was followed by a brief walk around the final few holes to get a feel for where guys were in their rounds, and realized I still had a bit of time to kill. See where this is going? Its going towards me getting food again.
It was delicious. Some more time spent prepping for guys I might talk to, and then back out in the rain. Based on the Tee-Times posted I thought I’d look for Stewart Cink and then roll on over to the Cantlay/Moore group and see what I could get done. Turns out some guys play just a few holes, nine holes, 15 holes, whatever they want. I wasn’t prepared for that and upon walking the entire back-nine and not seeing any aforementioned names, I changed the plan. I did walk by Dustin Johnson’s caddie, who was scouting the course or something and I heard him say to someone (I hope he had an earpiece in or he was talking to no one) that he “feels like I’m at a British Open.” That about sums up the weather here today.
The new plan was to walk over to 18 and attempt to grab guys as they came off the green. Bingo! This genius plan (aka the most obvious plan) worked like a charm. But first, as I stood beside the green, something in the water caught my eye. To be honest, my first thought was that it was a shark (I’m not from here, okay!) but it became evident it was Dolphins. Multiple Dolphins. This video doesn’t really do it justice, but they’re there.
Back to golf. A minute or two later, Martin Kaymer came strolling up the 18th fairway. He was playing with Matthew Fitzpatrick, and although he was in a rush, gave me two minutes of his time as he walked to his cart.
Little side story for a minute: as we finished the interview we were by a bunch of volunteer employees/elderly ladies and they just thought the interview was adorable. So I’ve got that going for me if all else fails.
Next up to the green was Kevin Tway, and he was also gracious enough to allow me a few minutes of his time
Nice guy. Works Hard. Loves the Game.
After that, there weren’t any groups within visual range, so I talked one of the kind elderly women into giving me a drive back to the clubhouse. She was very sweet and asked me questions the whole way back.
Upon getting out of the cart, there was some commotion by the putting green. Apparently there was some sort of “Kids Putt with the Pros” thing going on, so I walked right past without a care.
Kidding, kidding. Kids are the best (aside from dogs) and I captured this little guy mid-putt
That wasn’t what I was there for though, so back to the chipping green to check out its occupants. To my delight, my original target for the day was there: Stewart Cink. This is where my pursuit would begin, but certainly not where it would end. While there I also noticed Domenic Bozzelli is really good with his time and would stop what he was doing to sign autographs for ANY kid that came up and asked him. I’m not going to name names, but not every player was that courteous.
As Stewart concluded his pitching and moved to the putting green, kids now vacant from it, I spotted one of yesterday’s targets and fellow Canadian David Hearn. He seemed hesitant to speak at first, but once I dropped the “I’m Canadian too,” he gave in.
Good Canadian Boy.
This is where my pursuit of Mr. Cink continued. About 5 minutes after wrapping up the Hearn interview, I saw Stewart coming my way and threw out the usual, “Can I get two minutes when you’re done?”
His words said yes, but his eyes said no. I go by words though, and awaited his putting practice to wrap up.
10 minutes went by, 20 minutes went by, 40 minutes went by… I was starting to think he was just doing this to spite me. How could someone putt for so long in the rain I wondered? At this point I couldn’t give up. It was a standoff of sorts. I wasn’t going to leave, and neither was he. We made eye contact several times, neither of us breaking in our steadfastness.
There was one thing keeping me entertained though; Bryson DeChambeau. I had heard tales of his extremely analytic brain, but I’m thankful I got to witness it with my own eyes and ears. Not a sentence would go by without talk of one degree this, or half an inch that. He had contraptions, he had about six people with him (four of which are in the pic below) and over 20-30 minutes, I maybe saw him hit two putts total. The guy is unique, but I kinda love it.
Anyways, back to Stewart. As the hour mark came up on waiting for the guy, out of absolutely nowhere a man appeared on the Clubhouse balcony and serenaded us with some bagpipes.
What a time to be alive. I’d say he went on for about 15-20 minutes, but I can’t be sure. I was too locked in on winning this standoff with Stewart.
Unfortunately for me, my phone battery was dwindling. At a solid 43% when I begun my pursuit, it was now down to three. Head down and tail between my legs, I made my way back to the Media Centre to charge up. I had lost the battle, but hopefully not the war.
Wanting to feel a little better, I asked one of the volunteers at the Gate (Her name was Bertha) if I could get her anything. She had been standing in the rain for hours and I felt bad. She said she would love some M&M’s.
Soulmates? Just maybe.
That dream was short lived. The Media Centre had stopped serving food and was out of snacks. Damnit Stewart, you ruin everything. I quickly charged my phone and went back to break the news to Bertha and check on the status of Stewart.
Bertha handled it well, but I could tell the burning candle of love that gleamed in her eyes upon our mutual love of M&M’s, had been doused. I promised her I’d come through tomorrow, but I know she didn’t believe me.
Luckily my disappointment was short-lived, as I saw Stewart’s 6’4″ frame still putting. Perhaps he wasn’t just trying to spite me?
Back to my spot beside the green waiting for him. Another 10-15 minutes later, he was FINALLY finished. Did he come up and say “Thanks for waiting, lets do this?” No he did not! He walked right off the putting green as if I didn’t exist. Am I bitter? No. What would give you that idea?
I wasn’t going to give up that easily though. I took off after him and said loud enough that he could hear, “Stewart, can I just get two minutes?” I had him now. He was stuck in my web and would have to be VERY rude not to comply. He was quite strict about the two minute rule though:
Sandbagged an extra 19 seconds out of him. I think he felt a little bad once I asked about his wife, and he was nice enough to say sorry for making me wait so long. Music to my ears.
In all honesty, I have absolutely no issue with Stewart Cink, he was just doing his job. I also think my first question wasn’t very good, because everyone refers to him as a Georgia guy, even though he is from Alabama, but I could tell he wasn’t a fan of the question. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.
At that point I was pretty mentally and physically exhausted, and also cold, so I headed back to the Media Centre and here I am, at 7:01 pm, calling it a day.
The weather is supposed to be nice the rest of the week, so here’s hoping that comes to fruition.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 3! And thanks for reading this far!
– RJ McCullough