How many practice rounds does a player take to prepare for a tournament? How much time does a player take to warm-up? When does a player arrive to the golf course before a tournament round?
As of late, Ryan Moore’s responses would look like this: 0, 5 minutes and 15 minutes. I kid you not. Last Friday at the AT&T National, Ryan was the victim of poor traffic flow. On Thursday, it only took him ten minutes to get from his hotel to Congressional. Little did he know it’d be a different story the next day. He left for the course an hour and fifteen minutes before his second round tee time – forty-five minutes later, he was still almost a mile away. As time dwindled down, he was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a two-lane back road, and «gasp» spectators were moving faster than the cars! He had no choice other than to make a run for it. Literally.
Now let’s take a look at my scribbling on a screenshot of GoogleMaps the diagram. A little before Point “A” and about 30 minutes prior to his tee time, Ryan and his caddie got out of the car. (Fortunately, his girlfriend was driving or else they would have had to ditch it.) It’s important to note that Ryan is wearing a sweater-vest, tie tucked in his shirt, and usual trucker hat and his caddie, JD, is packing an oversized golf bag. With all that in mind, I really wish I would have been there to witness the following sequence of events.
A kind spectator saw them and directed them toward what appeared to be a dirt road. They ran up the hill to “B,” where they sprinted across some baseball and soccer fields that were in play. Refer to picture and you can see said grounds between Point “B” and Point “C.”
At “C,” they reached the intersection between the main road and the entrance to Congressional. OMG, there was only 22 minutes before the start time! Good thing he’s a calm guy – anyone else would have pressed the panic button an hour ago. There are just some things you can’t practice for.
Traffic was halted so Ryan and JD ran across the street only to be reprimanded for jaywalking by the cops “directing” the cars. Luckily, they ran into a grounds person who told them to “hop on,” and drove them from “C” to Point “D,” the club house. T-minus 18 minutes. Ryan changed his shoes and scurried to the driving range. He hit, “three lob wedges, a couple of 5 irons, one 3 wood and one driver.” But you could say he already had a good warm-up.
On the first tee, Ryan striped his drive down the fairway – about twenty yards past where he hit it in the other rounds. As he walked toward his ball, he turned to JD and said with a smile, “Well, sometimes you just have to play golf!” He made birdie. He also went on to shoot his best round of the week, 4-under-par, 66. Oh yeah, he finished T11.