RBC Heritage: Opening Round

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Woke up to another beautiful day. For some reason, I heard Jim Harbaugh in my ear touting his classic line: “Attack each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.”

So I did. Perfect weather, opening day of the tournament, Lucky Charms for breakfast and Drizzy on the Drive to the course. Off to a good start.

I rode over in the shuttle from the Media Parking Lot to the course with an older couple, and after some back and forth they revealed they’re from Tennessee and are here to watch their son-in-law Scott Stallings. The conversation was going well until they started railing on CNN and how awful it is and how Trump never gets a fair shake. Silence from my end, but it’s their country. Apparently Hilary is a crook and Donald isn’t. Apparently Fox News is the good stuff. Learn something new every day…

Upon arriving in the Media Tent I was surprised to see Rory Sabbatini had already posted 7-under. He was in the second group off the 10th tee and I guess they played pretty quickly.

Seeing that former guest on Teeing Off , Patrick Cantlay, was having a hot round too, I made my way to the back-nine to follow his last couple of holes. Predictably, I ended up in my usual spot behind the 18th green. Here’s what it looked like from my perspective

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Good spot to see the groups come in, right? They also have to walk right by me to get to the scoring tent, so I nabbed Patrick after he signed his card. I didn’t expect to get ANY interviews today since the tournament has actually started, but a couple guys were kind enough to grant me some time. Not much time, but I’ll take what I can get!

Pretty laid back guy. He carries his “Cali-vibe” with him wherever he goes.

A couple groups later, Marc Leishman came through. He didn’t have the best round going, so I wasn’t sure if he would be willing to talk. I really wasn’t sure after I saw a man holding a piece of paper with Marc Leishman’s name on it and DRUG TESTING at the top. I wanted to get to Marc before “The Tester,” knowing he wouldn’t be likely to do an interview after finding out he had to go pee in a cup. Well, just after I asked him and he said yes, “The Tester” appeared to make his presence known. As you can hear in the interview, Marc wasn’t a happy camper, which is completely understandable.

All things considered, not bad.

 

The next group up 18 included Kevin Chappell, a guy I’ve been wanting to interview since following him at the Canadian Open where he finished T-8th. Kevin is usually a happy-go-lucky guy, or so it appears, so I thought this would be an easy one.

What I didn’t foresee, is him getting a Double-Bogey on the last hole to finish +2, and walking off the green in a tiff. I gave him a few minutes to cool down and sign his scorecard before asking for a few minutes of his time, but wasn’t surprised when he replied, “Nah, I’m good man.”

To be honest, I actually respect that move. I’d much rather be told no straight up, than be led on or lied to. No hard feelings whatsoever. It actually just reinforced how human these guys are, and to factor in what they shot that day and how they finished their round before asking a favour from them. Seems pretty obvious, but you can forget sometimes.

Thankfully, the next guy I wanted to speak to, Webb Simpson, was having a good day, and gave me my two minutes.

Perfect answer about how he manages four kids.

With three interviews under my belt, and hunger growing above it, I made my way back to the Media Centre to get some grub.

On the way back, I saw DJ had just finished his round (Shot a 2-under 69, nice) and I think it’s safe to say people around here like the guy.

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Shouts to the dude trying to… take a selfie? I think? But if it were a selfie, him and DJ wouldn’t both be in it from that angle. And if it wasn’t a selfie, why not just take the picture front-facing?

Special mention to the lady not letting a cast on her left hand stop her from getting in on the action. That’s dedication.

You can get a better feel for the mob around Dustin from this angle:

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Anyways, I eventually made my way back to the Media Centre and got some food. The spread today was seafood, which I’m NOT a fan of, but it IS South Carolina, so I get it. They had hot dogs and burgers, which I AM a fan of, so I took a burger and loaded it up with all the good stuff. And you bet I had some M&M peanuts too!

While there I wanted to check on Nick Taylor and his round. One, because he is Canadian and has always talked to me when I’ve asked, but also because of his pledge to donate $500 for every Birdie and $1000 for every Eagle to the Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe Page. An amazing gesture.

Unfortunately, Nick didn’t have his best day and only had one birdie. Still though, $500 is nothing to sneeze at and hopefully he can get a few more in tomorrow and make it to the weekend.

Unsure what to do next, I strolled around the putting green and made my way to the Driving Range. My guy Bryson was there, grinding as usual.

His club guys I met in the shuttle the other day were there too, so I said hi to them, and moved down the range upon seeing Jason Dufner, aka Duff Daddy, deep in convo with Colt Knost. The topic: the state of their games and whether they’d have to conduct a drug test today. I guess word gets around pretty quickly when “The Tester” is on site. After a few minutes of talking, Duf took some swings.

You can see Colt there too, standing behind Duf.

Unable to get a Photo pass to go inside the ropes as I did at the Canadian Open (they don’t give those to websites here), I was kind of stuck in terms of really following a group and getting anything of value aside from what I saw with my own eyes. That being said, I watched a few groups come up the 9th and went back for a hotdog. This is what the Media Tent looks like inside by the way (Food area not shown).

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After scarfing down a hotdog (yes, it IS a sandwich), and some Miss Vickies Sea Salt chips, I thought about what to do next. To be honest, the afternoon groups aren’t nearly as enticing as the early ones were, so I decided to pack up for the day and go hit some golf balls of my own. I’ve been here for over four days now and haven’t touched my clubs. Time to rectify that.

I also HAVE to find a good spot to watch the Leafs game tonight. I did some scouting last night, but the lack of hustle from the bartenders to put the hockey on TV, turned me off of going back to the places I checked out. Tonight I’ll either find a place with a million TV’s, or somewhere recommended by a local that will FOR SURE have the game on.

As for the golf tournament, the afternoon groups are currently well into their back-nines, and the leaderboard as currently situated is as follows:

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Bit of glare on the screen, but that is Rory Sabbatini still sitting atop the board at 7-under.

Some other notables:

  • Bryson DeChambeau is -3 after an Opening Round 68
  • I mentioned DJ at -2. Kevin Kisner and Webb Simpson finished up there as well
  • Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink and Jim Furyk all shot 1-under 70’s

On the other end of the spectrum, the following guys struggled on Day 1:

  • Canadian Corey Conners opened with a 3-over 74
  • Paul Casey is currently 3-over-par as well
  • Davis Love III’s son Dru is +5
  • Canadian David Hearn is currently +6
  • And Charl Schwartzel shot an opening round 8-over 79

Again, thanks for reading, and GO LEAFS GO


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