Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Road Trip-Oakmont and the U.S.Open
The start came on a Thursday before my weekend trip with Ryan as I attended my first golf tournament with my friend Bruce Begole.
I had never done golf and I wanted to give it a try.
Bruce is a great guy and over the winter had bought us tickets for the U.S.Open at Oakmont near Pittsburgh.
I reimbursed Bruce of course and brought some stuff to hopefully get signed.
I didn't bring lots of stuff because I had been warned by Bruce that the usual briefcase would not be allowed,but with all the walking involved,it wouldn't be a good idea even if it was allowed.
If you travel on the Western part of the extortion that is also known as the Pennsylvania Turnpike ,you should have passed under part of the Oakmont Country Club and if you are traveling East,you can even see the grandstands on the 18th green (more on that when I get around to day four).
Bruce and I had an enjoyable trip until reaching our "shuttle bus" located at the Pittsburgh Mills Mall.
It was only when arriving there,that the disorganization began to be clear.
I was surprised since Oakmont has the Open roughly once a decade,one would think that they would have a grip on what it takes to run a tournament.
After waiting in line for security checks,I was informed that my kindle wasn't allowed through security.
Cell phones were OK,but the kindle wasn't.
It wasn't that big of a deal,but what it did do was take away any chance of pictures of my day.
Bruce being in far better shape than I volunteered to run it back to the car,which of course was located on the other side of the mall.
After we waded through that without issue,we had a decent length school bus ride that seemed a lot longer on the way than the way back before arriving at Oakmont..
You actually cross over a walking bridge at Oakmont,so you literally are above the Pa.Turnpike!
I'll never look at that bridge in the same way again,that's for sure!
The course involved lots of walking,which wasn't great for a fat man with a bad wheel limping around,but we wound our way around before a huge rainstorm stopped play and turned the place into a mud pit.
Bruce and I did get to see some of the golfers walk by us,close enough to touch.
We didn't ask them to sign anything because they were still in playing mode due to the delay,but it was still neat to see them up close in person-most notably Jordan Speith,Rory McElroy and Bubba Watson.
We also were able to see the Stanley Cup in person,with Bruce diving forward to get a finger on the Cup.
I would have,but I didn't think of it until it was just by me,but it was still very neat to be that close to the Cup.
Bruce got his picture taken with Phil Kessel of the Penguins and we saw many members of the team walking by often to the clubhouse for beer refills!
We tried various way of access,but the tournament still hadn't moved on,but I saw huge storm clouds on their way and since by this point,I wasn't moving very quickly,I left Bruce to look for graphs as I moved towards the front of the facility to get a head start.
I reached the front and suddenly the skies opened for about an hour of one of the most torrential downpours I've ever seen.
I managed to duck inside a hospitality tent and found myself standing next to Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari.
Finally,Bruce showed in the middle of this godawful mess and as it continued to pour,we dodged into the merchandise tent for even more rain to the point of feeling like the tent was going to collapse.
The rain kept falling and we decided to traverse a small stream (literally) to try to get to the parking lot for another lovely shuttle bus.
Problem was we were walking uphill through inches of water flowing back at us!
It was quite a grind and then due to more of the poorly organized bus issues,we had a huge wait and the bus loading filled with people that didn't want to wait their turn.
Soaked,hurting and tired,we finally returned to the car,where Bruce took pity on me (I really am old and out of shape) and picked me up rather than having me wobble across another parking lot.
The ride home was great and Bruce apologized for having a bad first time experience with golf.
I laughed because despite the pain,the company was good and it was still fun creating memories.
I'll have more soon on the next three days with Ryan,but the passing of Buddy Ryan has to be written and with luck,I'll have a podcast (I've been promising) on Buddy,the Cavaliers,the Hagerstown Suns and more.
It's a planned ThoughtsofRS with more than you can take of R.S.!!