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Your First PGA golf tournament that you walked the ropes!


93 replies to this topic

#1 raley001

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 08:16 PM

Thinking about this the other day and my dad took me to see the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic back in 1974. The winner was Leonard Thompson and the first place check was 52,000 dollars. We went into the main dining room for breakfast and saw Flip Wilson and George Kirby who signed my golf program. We also saw Jackie and Bob Hope play together. Great time for a 14 year old kid. Also saw Ben Crenshaw hit a great drive that seemed to go a long way! Those were the days!  We play the East course every other weekend in our course rotation and it’s in great shape! Share some stories!


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#2 bbedell

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 01:10 AM

The Fry's at Corde Valle in San Martin CA.  First time was the only year that Tiger played the tourney.

Got a fist bump from him as he walked onto the first tee.

So weird...he walks down the walkway with his head down, not acknowledging anyone. I yell "let's go Eldrick!" and he looks up and makes eye contact, so I instinctively hold my fist out and BOOM.  Everyone (including my wife who is in love with Tiger) looks at me like I just shook hands with Jesus.  

Same tourney the next year I walked with Gary Woodland/Miguel Cabrera/Ryo Ishikawa early AM when it was chilly and most people werent there.  Gary was a SUPER nice guy, chatted with me by the ropes a few times.  Freak athlete, huge quads.

Later in the day I was able to shake hands with Ernie on his way between holes...he asked me if I saw who won the rugby earlier in the morning.  Clearly it was the 'Boks my bru!

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#3 IcemanYVR

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 08:48 PM

Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club in 1986. I had just started golfing earlier in the year after watching Jack win the Masters. Two years later I was working in the pro shop. My most "memorable" event from the tournament was being pushed out of the way by Herman, Lee Trevino's caddie.
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#4 Steele47

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 08:58 PM

Not sure of exact year since I went a few times but one year at the Bob Hope Desert Classic myself and a few friends were leaving the tournament after Sunday's final round.  I'm thinking it was probably 1983.  Anyway, we were stuck in traffic.  Snails pace trying to get out of there.  I was sitting in back seat of his Toyota Celica.  My friend Bill was driving.  As we're stuck in gridlock Bill says as he's looking in the rear view mirror, "Holy Expletive!! Bob Hope is in the car behind us!"  I turn around and sure enough there's Hope sitting in the passenger seat of a cop car.  Of course I wave and he waves back smiling and just then he and his cop driver pass us on the shoulder bypassing all the traffic.  

Hadn't thought of that in years.

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#5 puttfordoux

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 09:06 PM

The old World Series of Golf at Firestone in the late 1980s. During the practice round, my dad would ask the pros what clubs they hit after their shots and would always be amazed at the answers. Also remember taking a picture in front of a copy of Golf Magazine with Ben Crenshaw on the cover, as if I was also on the cover. Great times.


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#6 Handfull

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 09:10 PM

1997 western open at cog hill.  The crowds following Tiger were insane.  Saw him hit an iron approach that was 230+ yards to a severely protected green and remember thinking I could never pull off that shot no matter how many tries I got.  Also remember how terrible slow play was even back then.

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#7 Llortamaisey

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 09:24 PM

1992 Masters. I had no idea how spoiled I was at the time.

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#8 bandrz

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 09:29 PM

1991 USF&G Classic (now the Zurich in New Orleans).  Ian Woosnam defeated the legendary Jim Hallet in a playoff.   I was just a kid but i can recall in great detail a lot of that tournament.  Watson and Nicklaus were there and they still hit it gooooooooooood.  Couldn't believe how high Watson hit it.  Nicklaus was paired with Daly.  They hit drives right above our heads on one hole and you could actually hear how much longer Daly was.  It was amazing.  

We followed Woosnam for much of the front nine and he hit the pin on approaches twice.   Hallet made an incredible birdie on 18 with a 3 iron to about 3 feet.  The energy of the crowd after that shot was pure electricity.  The playoff was pretty anticlimactic but still cool.   Woosnam won the masters just a few weeks later wearing those same red, plaid pants.

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#9 scottjbaker

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 10:24 PM

Went to LA open in 1975. I was a Junior in HS.My sister was going to UCLA. My mom and myself went to visit.She bought tickets for the weekend. Some reason Nicklaus didn’t play, would have been something to see in his prime. We fallowed Palmer mostly.It was great his drives were something to see. He was as long as most.Also watched Sam Snead what a swing. Watched Johnny Miller also. Saw Doug Sanders at the range one day all green shirt,pants,shoes and glove other day was violet. Watched Hubert Green also quiet a ball striker. On one hole Arnie was talking to someone by us and said see you later Jerry. Mom said that was Jerry West. A lot of good memories.

Highlight was end of Sunday I get Arnie’s autograph. My sister is trying to get his also follows him up the hill to club house at Rivera. She slips grabs his arm to not fall down the hill.She did get his autograph. Hale Irwin did win


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#10 Darth Putter

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 11:00 PM

1979 Jackie Gleason Inverrary at the age of 9. Other than three practice rounds at Augusta, I haven't attended a tournament since. I strongly prefer watching golf on tv.

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#11 farmer

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Posted 26 March 2018 - 11:34 PM

1973 Quad Cities.  Sam Snead was playing, and in those days the ropes weren't up for practice rounds.  Walked a whole practice round watching him, Chris Blocker and Sam Adams.  I was grown, a pretty good player, but seeing professionals for the first time live was an eye opener as to how good I really was.  I was expecting Snead to have the most gorgeous clubs, his woods were old ratty looking things and the irons looked like he had ground them by dragging them on the pavement.  Terrible putter, but he could still really hit a golf ball.

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#12 drewtaylor21

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 01:57 AM

The first professional tournament I walked was the Tri Cities Open on the Nike Tour, back in 1994 I believe.  One of my cousins, John Connelly, was playing the Tour back then and the event was just over an hour from my hometown of Yakima, WA, so we drove over to watch him play.  I had only hit a few balls around a park and played a tiny par 3 course at the time, but was just starting to get interested in golf and it was pretty cool to see a relative playing at a high level, even though I had no idea what was going on!  He shot 66 that day and made it look very easy.  I remember meeting him after the round at the range and he let me hit a few balls with his 7 iron.  I remember it feeling like the heaviest club I'd ever picked up (probably x100's hard stepped lol), but I got a few airborn and that was a success at the time!   One cool note was that 7 years later I would get to play the same (private) course as a part of our high school district tournament.  I got into a 4-for-1 playoff for the last spot to State.  I birdied the first playoff hole, then went par-bogey to be 1st alternate.  Never got in, but traveled with my teammate who qualified and eventually watched Ryan Moore go on to win.  He was decent :)

The next event I walked was the first time I walked the ropes at a PGA Tour tournament, and it was the 2002 NEC Invitational at Sahalee Country Club.  By this time I was a full-blown golf nut, and my hero (Tiger) was at the peak of his game.  He wasn't really in serious contention, but following him around on Sunday was pretty cool.  He shot a smooth 68 and never broke a sweat.  

I remember a few shaped iron shots pretty distinctly, but I'll never forget standing right on the ropes about 50 yards in front of the tee on a tight par 4.  He hit the stinger right over our heads and the sound that thing made was unreal.....
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#13 elwhippy

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 02:30 AM

1979 Open at Royal Lytham. My father got corporate tickets from one of his suppliers. We were there when Seve played from the car park on 16th. He was lucky. The thing that surprised me, and still does, is how the hell do they get so much height on long irons? In those days everyone bar the Ping staffers was using small headed blades. The driver ball flight was so different....low then climbed and flattened out. 280 yards was a huge hit. Very few players had anything over 56 degrees and the ball moved a lot more on the breeze. Happy days.

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#14 Awsi Dooger

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 04:04 AM

1968 Doral. I was 8 years old.

We got there mid day on Saturday and looked at the leaderboard. Weiskopf was in second place and we saw him on the putting green. My dad said you're going to be built like that, so let's follow him. I guess I come from a family of handicappers. Dad was correct since I'm 6-4 and about 195.

It turned into a battle between Weiskopf and Gardner Dickinson, who was chain smoking and gruff and could not have been less appealing. They weren't paired together on Sunday. Dickinson was in the second to last group and generally held a small lead. We were following Weiskopf in the final group. He was hitting the ball so high and far I was astonished initially. Then I figured out where I needed to look for his ball flight, as opposed to everyone else with the low rising jet trails.

Weiskopf was narrowly missing putts all day. He was a few shots behind Dickinson in the middle of the back nine but on 17 we learned Dickinson bogeyed the hole and now the deficit was only one. Then early on 18 we heard gasps from the green area. We found out quickly that Dickinson had double bogeyed. Amazing. Now Weiskopf merely needed a par.

Obviously that hole is a beast. Weiskopf hit the familiar bail out right into the congested small trees. My dad and I stood directly behind him, wondering what strategy he would use. Standard left pin and close to the water.

Weiskopf tried a cut but the ball flew straight and he got a bit of flyer. It ended up left of the green near a small hot dog stand. Gasps again. We couldn't tell what was going on from so far away but next thing we knew he's taking a drop. To this day I don't know if it was a ball in the water or unplayable lie or what happened. The process seemed to go on forever. Weiskopf was agitated and seemed to be unhappy with the officials and the crowd. Finally we learned it was a penalty drop and Weiskopf was hitting his 4th.

Not a bad finesse flop shot up the bank but it left an 9 or 10 footer for bogey and the playoff. Similar to Augusta '75 Weiskopf grazed the edge and had the agonized expression and Gumby bend.

I felt sick. So deflating. Walk 36 holes with a player and he loses like that. But I became a Weiskopf fan and followed him frequently in subsequent years. In the press conference after the defeat Weiskopf apologized for his behavior and said he needed to learn to handle situations like that. Funny how much I remember 50 years later.

My favorite early Doral was two years later. Tom Shaw looked so out of place among veterans who were in contention. Everyone in the Sunday gallery was calling Shaw, "the kid." Shaw was unconscious on the front nine, shooting 30 and clearly annoying the veterans he was paired with. They seemed to view him as an upstart who would fold.

I don't think I've ever seen so much frantic running at a golf tournament as that Sunday. Spectators were dashing excitedly toward the next hole as soon as Tom Shaw sank another birdie to extend his lead on that front nine. It was like a short lived obsession.

Shaw had a comfortable lead at the turn. We went to get a hot dog. While rejoining the group on 11 we were astonished to learn that Shaw had triple bogeyed the par 5 10th. I don't know how that played out but it must have been a water ball...or two.

He still controlled the tournament and had room for a double bogey on 18 to shoot 30-40 for the victory.

BTW, the story of Tom Shaw's actual age turned into a funny story a decade or two later. Nicklaus and Weiskopf knew that Shaw was older than he claimed. They joked about it for a long time before finally mentioning it to a tour official. It turned out Shaw had intentionally provided the wrong birth date for several years in the '60s, essentially staying the same age. The wrong date was printed in the media guide year after year so the journalists merely went along with it. Shaw was obscure enough to get away with it and with the long blonde locks certainly looked young enough to pass for what he was claiming. So at Doral 1970 we thought we were cheering for a 26 year old but he was actually 30ish.

I guess Shaw never considered the possibility of a Champions Tour when he was making himself younger. Otherwise he would have had to call himself out once he neared 50.

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#15 SixtySomePing

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:13 AM

We live about 40 minutes from Muirfield Village so we've been going to the Memorial since 1976. We've seen a lot of great golf over the years, all the guys on the Champions tour when they were just kids. Many many great celebrities- former presidents, Bob Hope, many great players, Tiger, we've seen so many times. Seve, Payne and they were honorees so was Arnold, Old Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, plus Jack of course, and so many more. It's a great tournament at a beautiful course. If you get a chance, I highly recommend it.

Maltbie, Memorial's 1st winner, 1976

Edited by SixtySomePing, 27 March 2018 - 02:54 PM.

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#16 mesquite2

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 06:19 AM

The old IVB Classic just outside of Philly at Whitemarsh Valley, saw 4 holes in one there.

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#17 Itsjustagame

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 06:25 AM

Greater Hartford Open in the early 70's. Don't remember details.
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#18 mosesgolf

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 06:32 AM

1975  Glen Campbell at Riviera.  My dad took my brother and I.  Johnnny Miller was the man back then and I got to see him.  That’s the only player I was interested in as a 11 yr old.  Wow times have changed.
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#19 davep043

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 07:08 AM

While I was in grad school at North Carolina State, I went to the old Hall of Fame Classic at Pinehurst #2, I'm pretty sure it was 1979.  At that time, there was a Hall of Fame building, maybe the same World Hall of Fame that's in Florida now, down near the 4th green and 5th tee.  The only player I specifically remember seeing was Arnold Palmer, hitting a drive on #10 that had the old-style trajectory, starting really low and climbing as the backspin took effect.

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#20 MattyO1984

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 07:23 AM

Dunhill Cup at St Andrews in 1998. It was the only year that Tiger played. We arrived about 30 minutes after he had teed off and ran the out as fast as we could to watch him. Brilliant experience.

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#21 Sixcat

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 07:46 AM

My first professional tournament was the 1993 KMart Greater Greensboro Open at Forest Oaks Country Club.  Rocco Mediate beat Steve Elkington in a playoff.

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#22 tommg

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 08:22 AM

1976 Canadian Open, EssexGCC. Jerry Pate prevailed. The Canadian was a pretty big event in those days all the big guns were there. I was a caddy at Essex back then so got cheap tickets, went all 4 days. I get out there a few times a year and can still remember shots and spots from way back then.

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#23 Konklifer

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 08:31 AM

1988 Bank of Boston Classic at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, MA
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#24 jaworski

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 08:33 AM

I saw Jack Nicklaus win the PGA Championship in 1980 at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY.

It was a wonderful experience seeing the conditions they played in with ankle high rough.

Even though Arnold Palmer was not in contention , I did follow him for a few holes and witnessed him treating fans so graciously, He gave some balls to some young fans after finishing a hole. Seeing him play is a fond memory of mine.
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#25 vaca22

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 08:56 AM

Mine was the 1994 Canon GHO, now currently known as the Travelers Championship.  At that time I believe it was the most attended tournament on the PGA tour for many years, now only surpassed by the WM Phoenix Open.  

Some neat things I remember:
  • Nice Price arguing with Squeeky Medlin over a 2 yard difference of opinion into a par 4
  • A group of fans following Greg Norman with shark fin hats
  • Harbor Bars, a vanilla-filled chocolate chip ice cream sandwich dipped in chocolate.
  • The champion, David Frost, won a cool $216,000 check as top prize.
The tournament was originally called the Insurance City Open, back in 1952.   Since 1967 it was known as the Greater Hartford Open.  Canon was the title sponsor from 1985 to 2002, a time that saw the tournament's largest galleries.

When Canon ended their sponsorship, the tournament became the Buick Championship from 2004-2006.  Even though Buick was the sponsor for only 3 years, the tournament was TERRIBLE.  During those 3 years the tournament was moved to late August, sometimes well after the PGA Championship.  I suspect that most major players were done with their seasons as this point and had no real incentive to travel to CT.

Since Travelers took over in 2007 to the present, the tournament has been completely resurrected and the fan experience has to be one of the best on regular tour events.  Also, the tournament was moved back to the week after the US Open, with Travelers providing incentives to players such as chartered flights from wherever the US Open was back over to CT.

Some history for those that care LOL

Edited by vaca22, 27 March 2018 - 12:00 PM.


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#26 BearQ

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 09:13 AM

Got into the game in 2001. But first pga tournament watched live wasn’t until 2007 Canadian Open
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#27 SurfDuffer

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 09:17 AM

PGA Championship at Baltisrol.
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#28 cardoustie

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    haha, we don't play for 5's

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 09:26 AM

Early 80's .. Canadian Open at Glen Abbey. Impressionable days for me from 13-19 heading there every summer.  I started playing at 13.   F me I am old.

Remember Nicklaus and Miller's golf the most.   The sound at impact was so pure back then, balata on persimmon.

I can recall the nice pro's and the clowns to this day over a bunch of visits.  I can still recall some of Miller's shots from the first round one year.   A laced 2 iron on 1 hole to 10 feet.

Biggest idiots: Trevino and Jacobsen
Nice guys:  Miller, Nicklaus, Leitzke, Payne Stewart, Stadler, Azinger, Sutton, Fergus, Cook.
Stadler and Miller were unbelievable to me

Mayhem:  getting near Greg Norman

I can recall the 10th hole in a practice round following Jack with my buddies dad, who was a solid player .... and an opera singer.   Nicklaus fatted his approach to 10 a little and Dick said to me (way too loudly) that there was no reason for a player like Nicklaus to hit a shot that poorly.  Jack looked over, he'd heard it all of course, and winked at me.

Edited by cardoustie, 27 March 2018 - 01:06 PM.

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Vokey SM6 Brushed Cu 54*M & 58*M  
Vokey SM2 Oil Can 64.07* s400 Onyx
Yes Donna

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#29 jdace47

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 09:33 AM

1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick. Special tournament!

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#30 SOONERMAGIC

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 09:34 AM

1988 PGA Championship which was roughly 300 yards from my house at Oak Tree National.   Jeff Sluman won and Payne Steward signed a hat for me, I was a happy 5yr old.


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