Day 4 -The Depths of the Valley

I made the mistake of going in the main entrance, as I have been doing for the last three days. I didn’t factor in all the people coming to watch the actual event and the 25 minutes it would take to get through security.

After refilling my water bottle (there are numerous water refilling stations all around the event) I headed to the media centre and got the address of where to get dropped off so I can jump on the media shuttle bus and bypass security altogether.

That will save a lot of time.

I had a chat with Taylor and picked up some press releases, reading while I had a cup of tea. It was already hot out and I was fuelling up before I headed out for a few hours.

My first point of call was the practice area where one lone golfer, Scott Stallings, was practicing. I knew that within an hour or so this would be packed and I was not wrong.

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Scott Stallings solo practice session

I wandered up to the 6th and perched there for a bit and when Branson Ferrier came through I followed him for a few holes. He had a good look at a birdie putt on the 7th and the crowd groaned as it slid by the hole.

We have been in touch on twitter and I will be having a golf chat with him tomorrow.

I then headed to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame for a question session with eight of their honoured members. There were a couple of late showings and one gentleman didn’t make it. In attendance were Gary Cowan, Mary Ann Howard, Wilf Homenuik, Bob Panasik, Sandra Post, Marlene Streit and Warren Sye, winning 43 titles between them.

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George Lyon’s Olympic Trophy from 1904

The questions were about golf in the olympics, representing Canada, new technology and their golfing idols.

Bob took the floor and the microphone a bit, dominating the discussion and a couple of times he was ribbed by Gary who at one stage just said no when Bob wanted the microphone back.

This led to chuckles throughout the room.

After the session was over I ended up having a golf chat with Gary. He won the US Amateur twice and the Canadian Amateur once and we talked about his golf, my golf, Fairways and he asked me who at the Hall of Fame knew about Fairways.

He grabbed Karen who works at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and told her about Fairways then told me to elaborate further before he took his leave. Karen and I chatted for a bit, she took one of my cards and plans on telling various managers affiliated with the Canadian Hall of Fame about what we are doing at Fairways.

As I headed back to the Shaw Media Centre for lunch I stopped and watched Vijay Singh hole out on the 16th and followed him, Geoff Ogilvy and Jimmy Walker to the 17th tee box.

I was snapping photos and one of the volunteers waggled his hands at me and told me I can’t take any photos. I showed him my media pass and all was forgiven.

This was a common occurrence throughout the day with most volunteers very sorry for chastising me however one man did not seem to be happy I had a media pass at all and demanded to know where I got it.

I told him I whittled it from some fallen branches.

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Todd, Noh and Choi on the 18th

I stepped into the air-conditioned media centre, grabbed some lunch and chatted with various media folk about their role at the Open and their golf stories.

The wall of heat was oppressive as you first walk out but once out, I got used to it very quickly.

I headed back to the practice area which was completely packed. Every bay on the range was full, the bunkers had three guys in them and the putting green was dotted with bodies. My favourite photo I took today was of The Golfing Scientist/The Scientist Golfer, Bryson DeChambeau practicing on the range with all his equipment.

I went back to the 6th and then walked to the 7th chatting with lots of people along the way.

I had been trying to meet up with Peter, who is a twitter connection and fellow golf chatter and we finally connected while I was sitting green side on the 9th. We had a good golf chat and he questioned me all about Fairways as he plans to promote it at his club and let all the people he golfs with know about our NFP.

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With Peter on the 9th

It was around 3pm by this stage and I needed to charge my phone as I had been tweeting up a storm and it seems to chew the battery so back to the air-conditioned comfort of the Shaw Media Centre.

I happily slid into a cold seat, plugged my phone in, had a cup of tea and a snack.

I then decided it was time to hit the valley. I have not been to the valley all week so off to the 10th I went. I stopped and chatted with a few volunteers on the way and when I got to the 11th I stood behind the tee box where the hole captain announced that he would tell security or the police (two happened to be standing nearby) if I took another photo.

I flashed him my media pass and a smile and continued taking photos as Erik Compton, Ches Reavie and Blayne Barber teed off into the valley.

What a spectacular hole!

I had golf envy as I wanted to drive a ball down onto the fairway.

I followed them down the hill and into the depths of the valley to the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th.

I settled beside the tricky 12th green watching a few groups come through some struggling more than others but no birdies were available while I was watching.

I meandered up to the 15th, a par three with an elevated green wedged into the hillside and watched a group putt out before trudging up the hill.

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Green action on the 15th

I was sticky with sweat by the time I got to the top of the hill and I kept walking, stopping only when I got back to the Media Centre.

Herb welcomed me home and I sat checking my watch realizing I had been in the valley for nearly four hours.

Time flies when you are watching golf.

I messaged my Uber friend Samantha and asked if she was up for a ride, thinking I’d have half an hour to sit before she got there.

She was available and would arrive in eight minutes.

As it would take me that to get to the gate, I grabbed my gear and headed out.

Dustin Johnson had just finished his round and was just outside the clubhouse signing autographs and was about to get on a player shuttle when a couple guys hit him up for a photo. He happily obliged and as one guy awkwardly stuck his hand out I offered to take their happy snap. I took a photo and as the guys excitedly bent over their phone, Dustin made his escape. As they turned to thank the space Dustin recently occupied, I spied him being driven away to somewhere nice and cool.

I saw Herb outside and asked if he happened to have a cart, as I was being lazy and was trying to hitch a ride to the front gate.

No such luck my feet would just have to do.

As I walked past the 7th green I saw Adam Cornelson lining up his putt and stopped to take a couple of photos. Dawie Van Der Walt was in the bunker and I took a photo as he sprayed sand and watched his ball hit Adam’s and come to a complete stop pushing Adams across the green.

Dawie’s ball would have run well off the green and he was very lucky to end up with a great putt for par instead of a difficult chip.

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Adam Cornelson’s ball near the 7th pin.

Samantha was waiting and I happily sat down in the air-conditioned car sending a couple of tweets while she drove me home.

She will be waiting for me at 8am tomorrow morning as I head back to spend another ten or more hours at the golf.

Only three more days to go.

 

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