Where else would you rather be?
It’s my motto when I go to any sports event. And that goes double for my time on the golf course, no matter whether I’m playing or watching.
Fans of our great game – or even non-golfers who are just curious – have a chance the next two weekends to enjoy the final two stops of the year on the West Coast Swing, at Pebble Beach and Riviera. I hope they get in the proper spirit.
Think about it: Golf is different from the Big Four (football, baseball, basketball and hockey) in that a ticket buys you a full day of entertainment. You can be out there for eight or nine hours if you like. Why wouldn’t you want to get maximum bang for your spectating buck?
But, judging from all the corporate tents and side attractions available at Pebble Beach this week, I’ve got to wonder: How many people at a golf tournament actually watch it?
Whenever I pass a corporate tent, I am struck by how oblivious the people in there are to what’s happening right outside. Maybe those are the non-golfers. Maybe they just like the party scene.
I wonder how many of them even know who’s playing. They probably have heard of Phil Mickelson, but I wonder if they’d recognize Dustin Johnson if he walked in the tent. I wonder if they know that Jason Day and Adam Scott are from Australia. I wonder if they have any idea what Jordan Spieth accomplished at a very young age.
Here’s something all five of those players have in common: They all will be at Pebble Beach, along with the usual gaggle of celebrities.
I frankly don’t understand why anyone at a golf tournament wouldn’t stand behind a tee for at least a few shots and watch how far these guys hit it.
It is awe-inspiring. It is mind-boggling. Look at it this way: It’s like standing right behind or next to home plate at a baseball game – you’re only a few feet away. You’re so close, you can feel the intensity.
And if you want to see something really wild, follow Cameron Champ for a while. He’s the longest hitter on the PGA Tour, and he’ll be at Pebble Beach.
Or how about this? Ho Sung Choi, the South Korean with the wonderfully weird “Fisherman’s Swing,” will be at Pebble, too. In case you’ve never seen it, it looks like this.
The point is, watching a golf tournament is an experience that other sports can’t match.
There are no breaks in the action unless there’s a weather delay (a possibility at Pebble this week, unfortunately, from the looks of the forecast).
People generally are happy because they’re simply rooting for whoever is playing. Unless it’s the wild 16th hole at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, no one gets booed – and the booing there is just part of the fun.
Best of all, you don’t have to sit in one place. You can walk all day if you like. I, for one, try to see as much of the golf course as I can.
So make the most of the experience. See shots. See what these guys can do. See how different holes play. See the great players. See the players who use unusual techniques to get the ball in the hole.
But whatever you do, get there early and stay awhile – a long while. Where else would you rather be?