Monday, August 11, 2008

Day Two: I am in the company of millionaires

An early rising leads to a beautifully quiet morning in my brother’s home. Coffee, paper and smokes out on his front porch. If there was ever a constant in my Ohio travels, this has become one. His neighborhood is lovely, if not a little Pleasant-Valley-Sunday-ish. I feel right at home.

The adventure is to start shortly. As many of you know – and to both the amusement and scorn of Pete – I am a huge golf nut. I play for shit, but LOVE it. Watch it on TV. Read magazines and books about it. I would officially go gay for Tiger. Have I made my point?

So, after a light breakfast and a change of clothes, we are off to Akron and the Firestone Country Club, host of the Bridgestone Invitational, with two other friends, including the golf pro from my brother’s club.

Holy hell, this is heaven. A gorgeous day. Pristine fairways. The best greens I have ever seen in my life. A hospitality suite by the 18th green with an open bar and scads of food. And the TOP FIFTY (plus qualifiers) PLAYERS IN THE WORLD*.

First thing, we wander to a tee box and promptly watch Colin Montgomerie hit one out about a million miles. Couldn’t see where it went, but he sure looked grumpy as hell. Seeing as he was about eleventy-pi over par at this point, I don’t blame him. Still, this dude is like the all-time Ryder Cup American killer. So he’s got game. Just not this weekend. Weird detail: his caddy was super-young. That surprised me.

We make it to the hospitality suite. Sat out in the really really no seriously really fucking hot sun and viewed the first few groups as they walked up the 18th fairway. Weird detail: The camera does put on a lot of weight. No lie there. Most of the dudes are seriously in shape and the guys that look pudgy on TV look ripped in person.

Later we cruise to an excellent spot by the green of the signature par-4 3rd hole (see photo above). Watching these guys hit over the water to that tiny green was both inspiring and depressing. It must be said and acknowledged: I will never play like that. Ever. Saw all the big boys*, including Vijay, Trevor, Phil, Stuart and Padraig.

Finally we make it back to the 18th for more food and beer. Feeling inspired, we leave early, hoping to get some golf in ourselves. Listen to Vijay win it on the radio on the way home.

After drop offs, brother and I hit the course for “just a few holes”. Of course, I think we ended up playing 11 or 12. Game is looking bad, but some good shots arrived in time for me not to quit the game.

We have dinner at the club, keeping me spoiled rotten. Life is good.

Next: Home of the sliders & keno

*No Tiger. The only bad detail.

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