Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Back from Oak Hill

Well, the Constructivist family has returned from Oak Hill, and even though we didn't get to see any of the golfers we were hoping to this afternoon, we still made out pretty good.  We did catch glimpses of Stewart Cink on the putting green, Matteo Manassero on the 18th, and Bubba Watson on 13 found a great place to see action on 3 greens simultaneously (you'll figure it out if you look at the course map), we walked about half the holes on the course, I got smoked by my wife and both girls in the Omega tent's putting contest, we got to see the Wanamaker Trophy from a distance as it was getting a photo op on the lawn in front of the clubhouse, and, of course, we had a pro encounter at the Korean restaurant we always eat at in southern Rochester.  Last time, we were lucky enough to eat when Se Ri Pak, Ai Miyazato, Jiyai Shin, and Amy Yang were there.  This time, we came in just as Senior PGA champion Kohki Idoki was leaving!  (As opposed to when the LPGA comes into town, we almost had the restaurant to ourselves, but maybe that's because the players like to save that restaurant until after the tournament is over.  We practically rolled out of there ourselves!)

Oak Hill looked fantastic, but some 20-plus years since I played it in college golf and 10 years since I last walked the course on PGA Championship Sunday, it looked quite different than the few hazy images preserved in my memory bank.  I would say it's a lot more visually intimidating than Locust Hill; although not set up quite as tight for the PGA Championship as they set up Locust Hill for the LPGA Championship, and although the rough doesn't appear to be as high or as thick, the number of severely and sharply elevated greens, the overhanging tree branches guarding what seem like entire sides of greens, the traps and water abutting the 15th green, the canting and curving of the fairways, and the treacherous creek that runs through the course all add up to huge penalties for being just a little bit off.

So on Friday morning Ryo Ishikawa is in the 1st group off the 10th tee at 7:15 am, which presents us with a little logistical challenge:  do we get up early (like 4:15 am) to follow him, John Huh, and Danny Balin, then turn right around and follow Hideki Matsuyama, Steve Stricker, and Jason Dufner at 12:55 pm off the 1st tee?  Do we come a little later, pick Ishikawa up on the back, and wait at 18 to see the likes of Day, Westwood, Cabrera, McIlroy, Donald, Mickelson, and Poulter finish out their rounds?  Or do we just try to catch Ishikawa at the putting green before Matsuyama tees off?  A lot depends on what my brother and parents will be doing, as well as how badly the Full Metal Archivist wants to follow a Japanese golfer and how much walking onechan and imoto are up to....

No comments: