RBC Heritage: Day 3

Sunshine! Let there be light!

Yes, we finally woke up to a bright, sunny day, and could not have been happier about it. Excitement coursing through my veins, I hopped out of bed, showered, downed a coffee and some breakfast, threw on a nice golf outfit (I wore shorts and a polo so you can imagine how nice the sun-kissed breeze felt on the skin), and hit the road.

Even my Mom wanted to join me at the course today. There was no way I could say no, but I worried how it would affect my credibility. Those worries were unfounded (I know she is reading this otherwise I’d have drawn out the dramatics even further). In the end, she had a great day and was able to capture a lot of photos that would have been physically impossible for me to get (pictures of me), so it was great to have her there.

Off we went, two trailblazers, setting a new path.

“Easy-Rock” carried us most of the drive, some “Billie Jean” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” are the tracks that I distinctly remember playing (Singing along to). A nice easy drive in and a hop onto the shuttle, and Voila! Another day at Harbour Town was upon us.

Upon entering the Media tent and checking out the day’s Menu (more on that later), I popped my head into the Interview Room and saw Sam Saunders fielding questions. Not quite prepared to dive right in yet, I put my bag down and waited for him to finish up. I’d get him as he left was my thinking.

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Turns out someone else had the same idea. Oh well, they WERE there first. I’d just wait five minutes until they were done, and then slide in and grab Sam’s attention. Or so I thought.

You see, this lady that was conducting a one-on-one with Sam, didn’t, to put it nicely, have the most keen sense of the moment. Sam was to be on the Driving Range for a special event in ten minutes. Unbeknownst to her, this lady decided to take those ten minutes to tell Sam about Alligators. I’m not exaggerating one bit; this lady stood there and talked AT him for 10 minutes. It was so awkward that a PGA Tour Employee had to come up and escort Sam away from the conversation. I had missed my chance, but deep down I felt much more empathy for what Sam just stood through, than my own minor setback.

Now that that was over, it was time to follow Sam over to the range. For the 50th Anniversary of the event, Sam and Dustin Johnson were asked (and complied) to try out some clubs and balls that would have been used in the inaugural event.

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That was cool. Sam actually hit them really well right from the start, while DJ took a few swings to get accustomed, and then, as usual, crushed it each and every time the rest of the way.

Next up for DJ (and myself), was a trip back to the Media Centre for his pre-tournament Media Availability. Any chance to ask questions to the Number One golfer in the world, I’ll be there.

First though, I was feeling a little self-conscious about being the only one wearing shorts and a polo, and the breeze was a wee bit chilly, so I bought a Harbour Town pullover. It was expensive, but it fits well and looks nice. Enough fashion though, back to DJ in the Interview Room.

A couple of Media Vets were, by right of passage, given the first questions, and then once the floor opened up, I was quick to grab the mic. Watch and Listen:

I wasn’t QUITE done with Dustin yet. No one was really talking to him after he wrapped up, so I showed him my Frenchie, and discussed his a little more:

Video didn’t get it, but he actually LOVED the picture of my Dog. And speaking of dogs; we ran into this cutie named Romeo by the 9th green. He’s a rescue dog and was quite thirsty for both water, and companionship (awe). Good boy.

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All this talk of dogs made me realize how much I missed mine, so I requested a picture from back home.

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That’s my girl, Bogey. And yes, I did name her after something golf -related.

Any-who, now back at the Media Tent, I had to get some food in me. Good spread today.

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Love me some chicken tacos. Also, for the record, DJ had the best round of the day with his own ball, shooting 9-under-par. Some people just have it all.

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With that wrapped up and no more interviews on a platter, aka guys coming into the Media Centre, I went back to old trusty: standing behind the 18th Green.

At this point I couldn’t help but wonder how no other Media guys were doing this, it was almost a surefire way to get a few minutes with a guy. Anyways, flashback a bit, when I was riding in the Shuttle back to the Media Parking Lot last night, we stopped to pick up a few guys I recognized from Bryson DeChambeau’s crew. Me being me, I couldn’t NOT ask about Bryson, so I did and they said he’s extremely nice and I should try talking to him. Wouldn’t you know it, the first guy to stroll up 18 as I staked my spot behind the green today, was Bryson. And just as his team had told me, he was a very nice young man; some would even say a Gentleman.

LOVED the Tiger talk. After that chat, Bryson has officially moved up my “Good List.” The BAD list consists of only two guys: Ian Poulter and Patrick Reed. But I’m not going to get into that today.

Much to my delight, there was another VERY successful American golfer coming up the 18th fairway next. I almost didn’t feel worthy of asking this man for a few minutes, but I’m glad I did because he was such a nice guy. The way he talks about his family, it’s hard not to like him.

Some good Ryder Cup talk, and how can you not love a guy thats favourite thing to do is play with his granddaughter. Could hear the boats honking in the background too. Electric.

Oh and yes, my mom is SUCH. A. MOM.

But I love her and she got a great picture, so, thanks Mom!

There was a bit of a gap after that group, and I was craving another chicken taco. After getting told off for not walking through the right area, I made my way back to the Media Area to regroup, eat, and see where guys were on the course.

As I left the tent, another stroke of good luck appeared in front of me. My disappointment from the Sam Saunders hog of earlier, was replaced with a spike of adrenaline as I saw Sam hanging out with a buddy, looking over fishing rods just by the Media Centre. Not wanting to interrupt the fishing talk, I sidled up and politely asked to speak to him when he was done. “No, no, lets do it now, buddy,” was his response.

I know it sounds a little forced, but I have to say, having never met Arnold Palmer, there was something tangible in Sam that was SO engaging. He looks you in the eye, he takes his time to give good answers, and he doesn’t make you feel at ALL as though you’re bugging him or cutting into his time. I can only imagine that’s how his Granddad was too, and Arnold would be so proud of the man Sam has become.

Sorry for the sap, here’s the interview:

Great line about investments. Didn’t expect to hear that word this week. That was a fun interview. I couldn’t open my phone to stop the record for about 30 seconds afterwords, but that’s modern technology for ya.

Okay, now for the main event; The best part of the day came next: Bertha.

Don’t think for a second I forgot about Bertha; I would never. I finally got her some M&M’s and she gave me a big hug in return. What a lady. I couldn’t NOT ask her for a picture.

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After that emotional roller coaster, I was on a bit of a high. Walking by the 10th tee I saw fellow Canadian Nick Taylor, and remembered a Tweet of his I saw:

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An amazing gesture that I wish some of the other guys, especially the Canadians, would have taken up as well. I asked Nick if I could talk to him about it after his Tee-Shot, and he said sure. He was sort of rushed, so its only a minute, but it was very nice of him to stop and talk.

Satisfied with the interviews I’d gotten, and not wanting to drag my Mom along all day, we took some time to walk the course and check out everything Harbour Town had to offer. I’m not going to go into too many details because, well, walking around a golf course is sort of self-explanatory, but for an idea of how nice the course is, here’s a picture of both the 13th Green, and 14th tee. Enjoy.

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And that was the end of my day! Or so I thought.

Not wanting to make my Mom wait for an hour plus as I wrote this thing, I decided I’d write it back at the condo. On the way back we stopped at Dairy Queen for a dipped cone and a Sundae (I had the Sundae). It took a while to get, but it was delightful.

Upon arriving at the condo, it became evident very quickly that the Wifi was not up to snuff. Nothing would upload. Rather than give a half-assed attempt at the recap of the day, I found the nearest place with Wifi. It just so happened to be a McDonald’s, and here I sit. Gotta give the people what they want.

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Not wanting to mooch their Wifi, I ordered a small coffee. The coffee is much better at home, but I couldn’t get nothing. The order was less than $2 but my 20 Dollar Bill was returned with $22 and change. Being the nice guy I am, I was honest and gave the money back. Full disclosure, I thought about taking it for a good five seconds, so don’t start carving my statue just yet.

And with that, that’s all for Day 3! The ACTUAL tournament starts tomorrow, which I’m super pumped about, so come back tomorrow night and join me for Day 4!

P.s. Anyone waiting for my Weekly Podcast: I will be recording one, but will wait until Friday night to do so. Usually I’m essentially recapping the previous event and previewing the next one, but with all that I’m doing this week, I wouldn’t do that justice. I’m going to compile the interviews and tell my story of the week once Friday night rolls around, so please be patient, it will be worth the wait.

Again, thanks for reading thus far, and thank you SO much to those that have reached out to tell me they’re enjoying the Blog; makes me feel like a million bucks and is very motivating.

Real golf starts tomorrow! For now, time to get out of this McDonald’s and get a good Burger and Beer in me.

-RJ McCullough


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