Due to personal reasons I didn’t get to bed until 4:30am last night. And even then I didn’t sleep. I was going to bail on the tournament but decided to give it a go anyway, despite having no sleep.
No warmup, no putting green… I smack my drive on the par-5 1st hole down the middle. Hit a five iron over the green to the back fringe. I drain my super fast eagle putt from the fringe. Wake me up.
I par 2 & three, then birdie #4. I got lucky because the pin was way right and that was NO pin to go for. Somehow my six iron stayed on the underside there, where most people’s roll off the green.
I get to the 7th and my gag reflex is kicking in. I’m starting to get butterflies and shakes from being so nervous and from no sleep. I yank my drive left and hit a tree on my approach to this short par four. I’m 30 yards from the green in super deep rough. I hit what may be the best chip I’ve ever hit. It went in like a putt.
Holy smokes I’m -4 after seven holes in the biggest tournament of the year. Try to breathe. Breathe.
I pull another drive and end up with bogey on #8. On #9 I had the worst gag of the day, pushing my tee shot into the hazard. I don’t get up and down and end up getting a freaking triple on a par three. The good news though, is I’m even par after a bogey and a triple!
On the back nine I played very steady, despite wanting to either collapse or throw up. I bogeyed one hole and made par on eight. I had some birdie opportunities which were close.
So in the toughest, biggest tournament of the year I shoot 73 on day one. Considering I haven’t golfed in close to 1.5 weeks, and that I got no sleep, I’m pretty happy about that.
Thanks to my friend John Boyne, a caddy at St. Andrews, for submitting this neat article on the 100 year anniversary of the death of Old Tom Morris. ~Tony
Old Tom Morris is attributed with being the founder of modern golf as we know it in this the 21st Century. An extrodinary feat considering he died, at the age of 84, on the 24th May 1908. This year is the 100th annversary of his death in St. Andrews.
An extrodinary man, he was born in June 1817, in St. Andrews. He grew up playing golf and this may have been the overriding decision from his father to apprentice him, as a ball maker, to the most famous golfer of the time and the first ‘professional’ Allan Robertson of St. Andrews. He served with Robertson for a term of nine years at the end of which he was playing the great Robertson on equal terms.
It is said that Alan Robertson never lost a match where a cash prize was at stake. They never had many recorded head to head matches, reputations at stake one suspects, but as a pair/team they were unbeatable. And the stakes could be high. Records show that one famous high staked game was for £400 (pounds) = $800 today, against the Dunn brothers from Musselburgh. For the victors in 1849 this is a fantastic amount of money and would be worth thousands in real terms, good God I would be hard pressed to go any higher than a simple five pound nassau today! Ah….to have some gentlemen benefactors, as these golfing pioneers obviously did, and then go out and produce the golfing goods against the best opponents of the day managed to give them an aura of invincibility when the money matches were played over the original Scottish Links courses of Mussellburgh, North Berwick and St. Andrews.
Forget golf for a moment!
Contrary to what people who frequent my many golf web sites may think, the golf course is not my favorite place to visit. That distinction belongs to Arches National Park.
Arches is 239 miles southwest of my home, in South-Eastern Utah. Arches is two miles north of Moab, Utah. Moab is a small town whose primary industry is tourism. Tourists hit Moab for mountain biking on the famous “slickrock trail,” rafting down the Colorado River or visiting Arches NP, Canyonlands National Park or Dead Horse Point. Moab draws a very “green” and yuppie crowd. There are more granola bars and “organic” food items per square inch there than any place on Earth. Good luck finding a non organic Pop Tart in that town because I couldn’t.
Arches is a spectacular area of land which contains the highest density of natural arches in the word. The high desert landscape of Arches has very little precipitation and extreme temperature variations. Red sandstone formations and fins have undergone millions of years of erosion, which result in visually stunning visuals and 2000 documented arches.
Utah’s license plates have an arch from Arches on them. This is Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is probably the most famous natural arch in the world. Getting to Delicate Arch requires some good calorie burning hiking uphill, about 1.5 miles. The arch itself is at the edge of a huge sandstone cliff, with an amazing sandstone bowl above. You can go right up and sit under the arch (see pictures), and that drop off the cliff is less than 10 feet through the arch.
I’ve happily made this rigorous uphill 1.5 mile hike in 100+ degree desert heat dozens of times, including yesterday. No matter how tired and sweaty I am when I get there, I completely forget all of that the second I turn the corner and see what I believe to be one of the most amazing and breathtaking formations anywhere. I’m completely awestruck by the beauty of Delicate Arch.
Suggestion: Plan your photos for early morning or late evening when the lighting is the best. And also be sure to cut your toenails! The hike down from Delicate Arch can really cause you grief if your toenails are rubbing against the front of your shoes!
I’m SO tired. I hiked 20 miles in two days in the hot desert of Arches National Park. Arches National Park is my favorite place on this planet, or any other.
I’m a bit gimpy right now, because of the huge blister on my left foot.
I’m just washing all the sand out of my ears now. But soon I’ll post some details and pictures of my incredible four day excursion!
My sites always go down when I’m out of town
I guess The Golf Space went down for a bit while I was hiking amongst the red rocks. Scruffy (Dan Smith) gets some major kudos (and karma) for helping me out and letting me know the site went down. I was on the road but found a nice place which let me get online to fix up the site and get it back up. Special thanks to the Holiday Inn Express in Moab, Utah. Yes, just like the Holiday Inn Express ads: “How did I get the site back up and running? At a Holiday Inn Express…”
New Bobby Jones clubs
There were some golf clubs on my door step waiting for me when I got back. Can’t wait to tell you about them. Soon to be reviewed will be the new Bobby Jones driver and Bobby Jones wedges!
No I’m not on my way to play in a golf tournament. I’m on my way to the DMV. 🙁
I’m bringing a huge coffee and my laptop. That should help pass the time for the estimated 2-3 hours I’ll be there…