“Torrey Pines-Picture Perfect Postcard Day”
It was the 1st morning, of the 1st day, on the 1st tee, and the place was packed.
It was at Torrey Pines, the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open, this weeks stop on the PGA Tour.
The sun shined, white clouds over the blue Pacific Ocean, and green grass everywhere.
There was a buzz, there was energy everywhere. I stood on the green and watched them drive the ball long distances.
Then there was a conga line of fans, five and six deep, walking the fairways, following the groups right up till they made their putts on the sloped greens abutting the manicured sand traps.
They were here to see Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, and no one else.
I watched Swedish star Jonas Blixt and Korean rookie Sunglae Im get to the green. 5-people walked the fairway with them. A smattering of applause as they finished up their par putts.
I stopped counting at 300, the group following Tiger’s troops and McIlroy’s mob of fans, as they jammed around the green..
McIlroy, playing here for the first time ever, was wild. He hit a tee shot off the fairway, right near the Media tent garbage cans. Yet he scrambled, put his 2nd shot onto the green, and made par. Way to finish.
Xander Schaufelle, the former Aztec, looked as if his knees were knocking, walking up the fairway next to Tiger Woods. He, finally found his ball in the rough. He got to the green and he got par. That’s what pros do.
Tiger’s entourage was amazing. They roared with every strike of the ball he made.
Forgotten were all his transgressions, forgotten were the four back surgeries, forgotten was the attitude he used to display.
Woods is now humbled and human by his experiences. Most seem to have forgiven him, and now root for him, and root they did.
He’s not as enormous in the upper body now, for his weight training regime has changed. He’s not as long off the tee as in the past. The power seems different. But he can stroke it. He can putt it.
He hit a 40′ putt from the edge of the green that lipped the cup, that would have given him a birdie early and a good start. He made par.
And he and his multiple area code of fans then marched on to the next hole.
Oh there was work to be done gun. Woods was 7-shots back of early leader Jon Rahm, who had 6-birides in 8-holes. On this day, guys were seizing birdies on the North Course, and surprisingly the always tougher South course was giving up birdies too.
Rahm started with a stunning eagle and when he was done, he had 2-eagles enroute to a 10-under day of 62. ‘You never-ever think of shooting 10-under par at Torrey’.
Tiger finished with what he called a ‘workingman day’…5-birds-3 bogeys.
Schaufelle called his day with Woods, ‘chill and fun’.
But as always there was lots of golf to be played over the next 3-days.
And for the fans, they loved every minute of this. The stars coming out in the day, the beauty of the course, the challenges hole to hole, the accomplishments and the failure.
And for at least a round of golf, walking the course, fans forgot about the anger towards reviled Chargers owner Dean Spanos. Did not think about another impending last place Padres baseball team. Did not care about an up and down Aztecs basketball team.
A picture perfect postcard day. A Chamber of Commerce day for the nation to watch TV and see the beauty of San Diego.
The Farmers Open, indeed a crown jewel of our community.