One of our Landings Club junior golfers, Edwin Shepherd, recently attended the PGA Championship. Here are his comments about the event (pretty perceptive for an 11-year-old golfer!):
1. What was your BEST experience of the day?
The whole day was great. My favorite parts were meeting and getting autographs from Darren Clarke, David Feherty, Bill Haas and Rory McIlroy. I asked Bill Haas which hole was the hardest, and he answered, "ALL of them." Everybody laughed. Also, I followed Rory for fifteen holes and I saw his shot on six in the rough. I was only about three feet away when he made his swing. I saw Bubba Watson smile when my Dad and I yelled, "How 'Bout them Dawgs" from the gallery as he was walking to the ninth tee.
2. What did you notice about how the players warmed up at the range versus how they practiced later?
Before the round, the players practiced everything. After the round, they practiced what they didn't do well that day on the course. Tiger Woods practiced putting after everybody else was gone. He had only made twenty-two putts on the first round, but he jumped up to twenty-eight putts on the second round. He wasn't happy with a three-putt on number eighteen, so he stayed and practiced putting for a long time.
3. Did the players eat or drink during the round? If so, what kinds of food?
I saw a couple of players eating granola bars and a lot of players drinking water.
4. How do you think you would have played that course from tee markers that were perfect for you?
Better on some holes than others. I would've had to lay-up a lot. The course was beautiful and seemed very difficult.
5. Were there any shots that surprised you, good or not so good?
Rory's shots on six and seven in heavy rough were great shots. It was really cool to be there in person to see him make those amazing shots.
6. What types of reactions did the players have to their good and not so good shots?
I watched Rory the most, and he was pretty calm, even when he hit poor shots.
7. Any tips on going to watch a professional tournament?
If you want to follow a specific player, you have to stay a little ahead of him or you'll get behind. Before Rory started, I stayed on hole 8 for a while and it was neat to see different players coming through. I heard Francesco Molinari's caddy say about the golfers, "Forty mile-per-hour winds to the right, pin placement on the left. They're magicians!"
8. What advice do you have to get other juniors started in golf?
Go play golf. Have fun with it. You've got to keep it fun. Don't get frustrated if you make a bad shot. Everyone makes bad shots sometimes, even the pros.