Tracy K. Lorenz ...


The Drink

The US Open golf tournament is on right now, I actually came home from work to watch it. Normally they play it on an impossibly difficult course like Pinehurst or Beth Page Black but this year they’re playing Pebble Beach which takes a little of the sting off from it. I’d probably shoot 200 but these guys will tear it up.

I had a chance to attend a US Open back in 1996 and of all the live sports I’ve attended that golf tournament was by far the most memorable; a lot of cool things happened when I went to the Final Four a couple years ago but that was stretched out over four days. For a one-day shot the Open wins.

For instance ...

It was Tiger Woods first pro event and he wasn’t Tiger Woods yet, he was just a skinny kid with a tiny little golf bag.  His college roommate was his caddy. On the eighth hole Tiger shoved a drive and it landed over by my brother Nick and I. There was no gallery rush, about ten people watched him hoist a nine iron over a tree and onto the green. 
(As a side note, while my brother and I were walking along he [Nick] found a brand new pair of Ray Ban sunglasses. When Tiger Woods hit his shot by us one of the guys who walked over was, shockingly, my ex-college roommate, Mike McClure, who I hadn’t seen in ten years. He [Mike] spotted us, walked over, looked at my brother, and said “Hey, those are my sunglasses.” And they were.  He took them off Nicks face and put them on his own.)

On the 17th hole there were a couple guys sitting up in a tree to the left of the green. Tom Lehman hooked a shot into the tree and conked one of the guys. They got the guy out of the tree and as medical personnel was dealing with his injuries the next group of golfers came up, Nick Faldo hooked his shot and hit the same guy in the head for the second time in about ten minutes.

Speaking of Nick Faldo. He hit a drive over by us and as he was waiting for the green to clear he started pacing like a lion at the zoo, just pacing back and forth rapidly like he couldn’t wait to hit his next shot. He finally got the opportunity, powdered an iron onto the green, dropped his club where he stood and SPRINTED to a nearby Porta-Jon. It was occupied so Nick starts pounding on the door, the door opens and the guy comes out looking like he's going to kill the guy pounding on the door and it's Sir Nick.
But my big moment came on the 13th hole.

It was about a thousand degrees that day and I might be underestimating. It was so hot my brother’s rear view mirror melted off his windshield.  I was drinking $5 bottles of water like they were shot glasses.

One of the cool things about golf tournaments is you can actually get close to the players. On the 13th hole I was leaning up against the little fence next to the tee box. There was a huge Gatorade cooler sitting there, the kind they dump on coaches, so I asked the marshal if I could have a drink because, ya know, I was shriveling. He said “No. That water is for the players only, the marshals can’t drink from it, the caddies can’t drink from it, PLAYERS ONLY.” Well, I thought that was a bit rude, especially when talking to a raisin.

The next group up contained Jack Nicklaus, he came up and stood maybe two feet away from me. I said “Worse ways to spend a Friday ...” to which he responded “Yeah, but it’s kind of hot.” and then he reached over, grabbed a cup, and filled it from the Players Only cooler. I said “Can I have a cup?” and he said “Sure,” and handed me the cup he’d just filled. The marshal who denied me a drink was literally eight inches away. I slow-drank that water right in front of him, he gave me “the look” but never said a word.  It’s a good thing too, because had he said something my new best friend Jack might have gotten ... teed off.

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