I'm sitting on the sofa where I was a week ago, up to watch the Saturday morning matches and to give my back and neck some TLC as I was going to be hitting the road again soon to head back down to the Sunday final round of the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. I had thought about skipping right to Sunday, but Saturday was part of the journey!
So it's Saturday morning and I'm rotating between a heating pad and ice on my low back, in a blanket cocoon catching up on some work, and checking out what was being said on Twitter about the Ryder Cup while having NBC on my TV (I pride myself on multi-tasking!).
So it's Thursday night, a week after the beginning of the Ryder Cup in Minnesota, and I'm still smiling! Life has gotten in the way of getting Part 3 out sooner, but here it is!
I left off at coming home Wednesday night from the practice round which was AWESOME! It was so fun to see the players, the course, the fans, AND the Merchandise Tent! The Friday adventure came about sort of last minute (similar to Sunday)...I knew my friend Deb wanted to go, but I wasn't sure if she would be able to go with family or not. When she asked if Friday could work for me, the answer was of course YES!! We had our ticket adventure, finding some in our price range, and now we would be picking them up on our way to the gate.
While the practice round time was great, I have to admit being there for the actual competition was beyond my expectations...I wanted to experience the electricity, the passion, the people, and the sense of team. Ryder Cup Friday, here we come!!
As I'm sitting at my desk getting ready to type this (for the 2nd time- UGH!), I can't believe it's been a week, A WEEK, since my first day Ryder Cup adventure to the Wednesday Practice Round at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minnesota.
A few side bars...about a week and a half before I had tweaked my back. It was about 7 days of feeling awful, not being able to sleep, sit, or stand without pain. If you know me, you'd know that it takes a lot for me to consider going to the Dr. but after about 5 days of pain I made a desperate call to a great friend who is a nurse and she miraculously got me in that day so I could get some pain relief. There was no way I wasn't going to the Ryder Cup, but I'll be honest, I wasn't looking forward to the card rides, walking and standing that were in my near future. This is also a crazy busy time at work for me so I almost didn't have time to even get prepared or excited for what was to come.
It's a Tuesday evening, and I'm decompressing after what can best be described as an AMAZING experience at the 2016 Ryder Cup held in my home state of Minnesota at Hazeltine National Golf Course.
My heart beats a little faster, even now, as I'm thinking back on my adventure. A smile is coming across my face as I type and the experiences on the tips of my fingers are trying to find their way in this story. It might be a jumbled mess, but one thing's for sure...this is coming from my heart.
I cringed when I logged on on my web site to see how long it was since I had updated. Two months for general updates and 3 months for a blog post - geesh!! This is not new to me...it seems this time of year causes all kinds of distractions for me, and once I get out of a groove it takes me awhile to get back into it.
But today, it's Sunday, I'm smelling the angel food cake I have in the oven and I'm on the sofa watching The Memorial! It's been awhile since I've watched golf on TV, but with Matt Kuchar in the hunt I'm excited about it!! So why not take some time to catch up on golf thoughts!
If you're a golf fan like me, you've jumped on the fan bus of several PGA Tour golfers. I'm guessing most have a favorite (AKA Steve Stricker!), but with a season where players may only be in less than half of the events, it's logical to have a stable of favorites to root for each week.
Lee Westwood caught my eye a few years back when he had a T3 at the Masters (my favorite week of the year!)
I thought to myself, I could like this guy! He was "the UPS Man" with his sponsorship with them and his sometimes bright orange shirts made me realize that he didn't mind standing out in a crowd. While he didn't win on the PGA Tour in the 2012 season, he did have 7 Top 10's in 15 events, had a T2 at the BMW Championship and ended up 10th on the FedEx Cup list (with a dismal 30th place at the Tour Championship).
I was so excited to get a message via the web site from Mike Gray, another golf dreamer I wrote about back in 2009! Mike was the creator of the website/blog, Life in the Rough (I don't have a link because it's currently not active), and his dream was to become a teaching professional. It was so interesting to read his responses to my email questions, how life changes and different experiences come into our lives. I'm so glad Mike was able to find me and willing to catch us up on where golf fits into his world now.
HJG: So, back in 2009 I wrote a blog post about golf dreamers and you were one of them! You had created a web site, www.lifeintherough.com to chronicle your journey. Could you share a little of your golf story that got you to the point of wanting to take golf more seriously?
Mike: I took up the game when I was about 18 and working at a golf course in the summers during college. Having free access I got to play a lot. After I graduated and started my career as a software engineer the passion remained. Not only did I love the game with all its history and traditions, I loved the challenge. Somewhere along the line, I realized that at some point in my playing life, I had hit virtually every shot in the book. I could drive the ball far, putted well, and loved to read and learn about every aspect of the game. Not only that, but I loved to practice. It was the recipe for becoming seriously invested in the game.
Back in 2009, I discovered some interesting golf dreamers...and you know me, I love a great golf dreamer story! Bus alas, I lost track of them. Then, as I was re-posting my Tees2Greens posts here at HopeJoyGolf, I found the original post and thought I should see if I could find some updates. Of the 3 people I tried to find, only one was kind enough to reply back - Erik Tammar.
If you read this post from 2009 you'd find out that Erik packed up and moved to Thailand for 7 months (in 2007) on a quest to improve his game so he could make his way to the PGA Tour or what we now know as the web.com tour. Erik had a blog where he upated us on his journey, but alas, his web site was no longer being updated when I went searching a few months ago.
But thank heavens for social media and Google! I found Erik on Twitter and connected with him to see if he would be willing to catch us up on his life since heading to Thailand, and he said YES! THANK YOU, Erik!!
Here is an email Q&A:
HJG: So, when & how did the idea come about that you wanted to try to qualify for the PGA Tour or (back then) the Nationwide Tour?
Erik: Well, simply put, in 2007, after a five year hiatus, I began playing golf again and caught an extreme case of “the itch”!
I had graduated college in 2005, started working an entry-level software sales job and relocated from Boston to Southern California (Orange County) late in 2006. Having access to a lot more golf, and much better weather, I began playing frequently, and quickly renewed my passion for the game. The idea to make a run at The Tour was something that came about as I realized, not only how much I loved the game, but, that if there was ever a time to go on an adventure, it was then, while time was still on my side.
HJG: You were a 22-handicap at the time you set out on your journey with a goal to be a scratch golfer in a year, what did your friends & family think?
I've always loved following golf dreamers. Over the years I blogged several times about stories of those working their way to make golf their dream, and I was a huge fan of the Q-school process (before they changed it) because there were literally hundreds of dreamers working towards goals imagined. After spending the week uploading several years worth of old posts from my time at Tees2Greens, I re-read several posts about some of those dreamers and I thought I should follow up on some of those names and stories.
I love golf and I love to write, so I can't think of anything better than having a happy place like this to write about golf to my heart's content. Thanks for joining me!