Want to watch one group at the U.S. Open? Say Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott on the back nine holes?
Good luck with that.
I met the group on the 17th hole at Chambers Bay on Thursday (but that’s because I first thought through six holes meant they were about to tee off on 7. Fortunately Russell Henley is one of the more recognizable golfers in the field and I quickly shifted course).
I couldn’t see any of them through the TV towers, the crowd and the grandstand. But I did get to see Garcia visibly frustrated with his tee shot on 18.
I took my phone out of my pocket to record them walking past me through a roped-off path to the fairway.
“No phones,” said one official as he stuck his hand in front of my phone.
Not even the media can catch a break.
One spectator said that he’s found the best way to bend the rules and take photos with his phone is to be about five rows back in the crowd, where it’s more difficult for the officials to see.
I had finally caught up with this group – with Johnson at 2-under-par and near the top of the leaderboard, Scott at 1-under and Garcia at 1-over.
But to get from the 18th tee to the 18th green requires walking around Rainier Village and other buildings, all obstructing the view of the fairway. By the time I got to the grandstand at the green, officials weren’t allowing anyone to enter it and my only partial view of the green was near the tee box at the first hole.
The crowd clapped and cheered. It was apparently for Garcia sinking his birdie putt. Then a “ooooh.” That was either Scott or Johnson missing birdie putts less than 13 feet from the hole.
I should have listened to University Place’s Michael Putnam when he tweeted this six days ago: “Spectators should not expect to be able to walk 18 holes of golf. Advise, find grandstand and sit.”
I posted up between the first and 10th tees and got to see Henrick Stenson stop in the middle of the 10th fairway and guzzle what appeared to be a protein drink, Colin Montgomerie and Miguel Angel Jimenez eating snacks after their tee shots and a glimpse of Patrick Reed walking off the 18th green holding the lead at 4-under. What I didn’t see was him losing the lead with a bogey on the first hole.
Still – listen to Putnam. If you want to see the action, let it come to you.
Local caddie Rick Harris was appointed to work Stephen Gallacher's bag at the U.S. Open after Gallacher’s caddie Damian Moore was injured Wednesday.
Harris is one of a handful of Chambers Bay caddies on retainer, according to the U.S. Open caddie headquarters.
Staff writer Meg Wochnick contributed to this report