Ramblings from The Gallery
by G. Rennie
Some golf holes can own a player and #11 at TPC Boston has a claim on Charley Hoffman. His quadruple bogey there during Monday’s final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship dropped him from contention into oblivion as he slid from minus 12 to minus 8 on the 231 yard uphill par 3. It seemed like it took forever for poor Charley to get through this hole but it probably took about twenty minutes. We we’re standing to the left of the green and had a good view of his tee shot as it peeled left, hit the cart path and jumped deep into the woods. He hit a provisional since it looked like his tee ball was a goner but, perhaps to his dismay, enterprising spectators and marshals found his ball. Thanks a lot, you DB’s, is probably what Charley was thinking when he got to his ball which was really in jail. His third shot caromed off a tree, never clearing the forest, and this time, despite the efforts of many, that ball was not to be found. So back to the original spot in the woods, playing his fourth shot Charley managed to clear the woods and make it to the right green side bunker. Splash out past and above the hole, two putts and it’s over. Hoffman left the green counting up his strokes on his fingers- not often you see pro doing that.
Golf fans can be very vocal in their support for favorite golfers but Phil and Tiger get cheers from everyone, on every hole. Tiger was paired with Dustin Johnson during the final round on Monday and he got a lot of shout outs, “Go, DJ”, from fans around the course. Jeff Overton was paired with Phil during that round and I didn’t hear one cheer for him over the course of several holes that we followed that group. Phil, of course, was showered with love just about every step of the way. I guess the guys who play with, and somewhat in the shadow of Phil and Tiger get used to it but it’s got to grate just a bit.
It’s interesting that the three playoff events prior to the Tour Championship are all sponsored by European based companies two of which are banks. Just goes to show you that the USA is still the place to be regardless of recent Ryder Cup performance.
There was quite a contrast between the two venues that hosted the first two legs of the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs. There were obvious differences between the courses, one being a classic, imposing layout by a revered master architect while the other is a modern course originally built by a King and now retooled by a top modern designer. However, the most glaring difference to my eye was how the host sponsor set up its hospitality venues at these two courses. The boys at Deutsche Bank seemed more respectful of the terrain and more accommodating of the average fan in erecting hospitality pavilions. The corporate venues that lined the holes were low profile and conformed to the typical standards found on the PGA TOUR from week to week. Not so at the Barclay’s where they constructed immense, oversized corporate structures. The 17th green at The Black is a natural amphitheater which the USGA covered with no frills bleachers during both the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. At the Barclays, the public access stands were very limited, squeezed out by a ring of hospitality venues open only to corporate guests. And the 18th green was backed by a colossal multi level steel and glass pavilion that dwarfed the nearby clubhouse. The Barclay’s boys must have spent a boat load of dough on that temporary structure – probably came from the windfall they got illegally rigging the LIBOR. I hope this isn’t a new trend in course set ups where the sponsors corporate dollar lead to exclusive access for their guests at the expense of the regular, pay at the gate golf fan.