Golf is such a small world. I might have only been playing since July 2014 but I seem to have made a lot of friends. All because golf connects us.
It didn’t take me over an hour to drive 11kms today, instead it only took 40 minutes. Winning already really considering Sydney traffic.
I parked the car on the 8th hole of Woollahra Golf Course and felt a little guilty doing it. I have played this course quite a few times and it just didn’t feel right.
I was directed to the top gate and after entering I realised I was the whole length of Royal Sydney away from the media centre and lugging about 15kgs too. I spoke with a gentleman nearby who was helping someone else and he told me to jump in his cart and he drove me down to the media centre. Roger (the green staff gopher – no relation to the Caddyshack gopher) was my new favourite person.
I set up my stuff in the media centre and headed out to watch some golf. As I was passing the putting green I spotted Lincoln Tighe who waved me over so I had a brief chat with him and decided I may as well hang around and follow him for a few holes.
The weather was perfect. Warm with a light breeze and Lincoln nailed his ball straight down the middle of the 1st fairway. I had told him yesterday I wanted to see him at the top of the leaderboard with many birdies and he certainly gave it a good nudge.
I walked three holes with him and spotted Leesa and Audrey from the media centre off on Spieth watch. I am not interested in being among the throngs of fans when there is great golf to watch around me however I did want to see how Curtis Luck was going.
As we were walking a ball plopped down in front of us in the trees on the 13th.
We stood and waited for the owner of said ball to come down the fairway (turned out to be Hendry) as I wanted to watch him thread the needle through the trees. Some spectators exclaimed he wouldn’t have a shot however I told them these guys are professionals of course he could get the ball through the gap in the trees.
He was not happy being there and while he punched out a great ball it went too far and he cursed and threw his club on the ground. I smiled as his caddy stepped over the discarded club and walked off down the fairway. Hendry had to pick it up himself or play without it. He opted to take it.
As he was in Nick Cullen’s group I decided to follow them as the ladies joined the Spieth Swarm. I did snap a couple of photos of Luck (in an awesome pair of pants – I had a little pant envy), Spieth and Ogilvy before I dodged the oncoming foot traffic pleased to be going in the other direction.
I watched Cullen hole his ball for a nice birdie on the 13th while Hendry only managed a double. It was not a good hole for him.
I watched Cullen tee off the 14th then went looking for Jason Norris and as I got to the 9th green I asked what group was coming through and I had timed it perfectly as I spotted Norrey marching down the fairway.
Rod (his caddy from last year) was following the group so I joined him for a few holes catching up as we watched Norrey play.
I checked my messages and had received a response from Gordon Moir about the British Open Championship flag but he didn’t mention that at all just said he knew I was at Royal Sydney and told me about green staff, Brad Foster, Rob Browne and Ross Campbell and said he knows Steve Marsden reasonably well. I told him if I saw them I would pass on his best.
I looked around thinking there are thousands of people here what are the chances?
Turns out approximately three minutes later I would bump into Steve Marsden himself. He was cruising by on a cart and we exchanged hellos and I asked what mission he was off to do (before I knew who he was). He said he was checking grass and I asked what his job was. I couldn’t quite see his name tag and when he said he was the Superintendent I told him Gordon says hi.
Forty minutes later we were still chatting but both had other things we needed to do so we said our goodbyes and will catch up again on Saturday as I want to question him about setting up the course, getting it ready for such an event and also about the proposed redesign of the whole place.
Before I left I snapped a photo of both of us and sent it to Gordon noting my efficiency.
Back to the media centre for a bit before I hit the 16th tee. I loitered there, switching from the 15th green to the 16th tee chatting to the volunteers, Rudy and John. I bumped into Steve Marsden again (this time literally). He had a bucket of sand and was repairing the divots on the tee block between matches.
I watched Lincoln Tighe come through noting he was -3 and checked his score online (four birdies, an eagle and three bogeys) and we had a quick chat before teeing off the 16th.
I waited until Zach Murray came through as I wanted to watch some of his golf and headed out following his group. I got chatting to a couple of people nearby asking if they were part of Zach’s entourage as I had seen them say hello. Turns out it was Zach’s brother and father. His brother was aghast when I asked if he golfed and was quick to say no.
None of us were happy watching Murray bogey the last and end up 1 over for the day but tomorrow is another day.
I was off to the media centre again for lunch and to charge my phone. The constant photos and tweets chew the battery so it needed a bit of charge.
Leesa told me where Coletta was and I headed off to watch him play. I didn’t look (nor take into account) that Adam Scott was in the group behind him so there was also a massive crowd rows deep watching Scott compete.
I met John Savage and Dave Bishop on the edge of the 12th and had a brief chat before I eventually weaved through the Scott supporters and headed off to follow Coletta.
I then received a phone call from David Gallichio from Golf Australia and I headed off in the other direction to have a golf chat, talk about Fairways and how we can work together to grow junior golf.
Following this meeting, I was sun kissed and tired and wanted to sit down – I have walked nearly 90kms in the last week and a half and my legs were heavy.
I headed back to the media centre and caught up on my emails and was at my desk when Robbie from RJ Golf and Kurt turned up. Grant soon joined us and we had a good chat while we waited for the traffic to clear.
Well that was our thinking however Sydney traffic is woeful continuously and in fact all governments in the last 20 years should be ashamed of the debacle they have created.
Tonight I am in Bowral as tomorrow I head further south to teach golf in schools again at Greenwell Point Primary School and I look forward to seeing the kids but I will be back to the Australian Open on Saturday.