There was a special feeling in the air when I stepped on the grounds at Ridgewood Country Club on Tuesday afternoon. What’s that smell? Excitement and anticipation for the FedEx Cup, clearly! Wait, no, money! I felt goosebumps creep up as I traversed across the lively and exhilarating practice areas surrounded by lush green flora of northern New Jersey.
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. I’m actually a fan of Ridgewood. We had the Ivy League Championships there in 2003 (my sophomore year). I was looking back and trying to recall the course and any poignant memories. Let’s see, I remember playing in torrential downpour for almost all 36 holes we played on Saturday for the first two rounds. It was just another soggy and cold (about 45 degrees) April day in beautiful Paramus, NJ. I did some googling and came across the GolfStat scores. Oh right, that was the time I missed a three-footer on the 72nd hole to place fourth instead of T3.
When I looked at my old scorecard, I saw that I finished bogey-double-bogey to shoot 79 in the third and final round. “Way to finish strong! Clutch!” I thought to myself. But then I remember just how excited I was to be finished as I hobbled off the course. I remember we (Yale) won Ivies to advance to NCAA Regionals, but my memory isn’t what it used to be. So, I decided to IM my good friend Meg, who played at Princeton.
Here’s the totally riveting convo that was so amusingly lame I had to share:
Stephanie Wei: was just thinking back to our old ivy league golf days because the barclays is at ridgewood
Stephanie Wei: that’s where we played our sophomore year
Meg: f****** ridgewood
Stephanie Wei: hahaha
Stephanie Wei: i remember it was hard and it was raining per usual
Stephanie Wei: did we play together?
Meg: i played with you the second day, i think
Meg: and we played a miserable 36 that first day
Meg: and the buffet sucked too
Meg: i remember that
Stephanie Wei: i just remember shanking a 3-footer on the final hole
Stephanie Wei: Ugh. I’m pissed off thinking about it.
Meg: and look how detrimental that has been
Meg: totally messed up your life!
Meg: that was the pivotal moment!
Stephanie Wei: TOTALLY
Meg: i have this vivid memory of HATING the fact that i was only half way done on sat. i was soaked. i was playing crappy. the food sucked.
Meg: and then the other memory is me and you on 18 tee (or what i think is 18 tee) being happy to be done with the whole thing
Meg: your back was in bad shape
Stephanie Wei: yeah i think i limped off the course
Stephanie Wei: like i did at every tournament
Just a few ex-college golfers complaining for old time’s sake. If you think less of me, I completely understand. See guys, this is what Yale and Princeton educations get your kids these days. That all said, I still really liked the course despite the cold, the downpour, etc. I’m a sucker for a good ol’ traditional Tri-State area course. I was pumped last year when I heard The Barclays was returning to Ridgewood instead of that terrible track called Liberty National that the pros hated.
The course has 27 holes and the pros aren’t playing the same 18 I played seven years ago. I was a little confused at first when I started walking around because I didn’t recognize some (most) of them, which actually is standard (my memory of courses sucks these days. I blame age). I’m too tired to describe it right now, but it’s just your classic Tillinghast course — pretty tight fairways, thick rough, missing the fairway is penal, some elevated greens, tree-lined, punishing but fair, etc. It’s a ballstriker’s course. (If Tiger doesn’t have his driver straightened out, he’s screwed.)
It was a pretty quiet day at The Barclays. It was drizzly and cloudy. There were like five fans. There didn’t seem like too many pros around. I decided to walk a few holes and I saw, like, eight people, all of whom were following Ernie Els. It was a very relaxed atmosphere, though, which is a nice change from the majors (even on a Tuesday).
I forgot to bring my camera, so I had to use my crappy camera phone. I decided to take pictures of weird stuff because any attempt to capture something pretty wouldn’t turn out. Let’s start with Anthony Kim, who was doing some little clinic with the First Tee. The little kiddies got to carry his bag, walk down the fairways with him and watch him play some holes in his practice round. He spent a fair amount of time around the second green, hitting chips and putts, while chatting with his girlfriend and caddie. The kids waited patiently on the next tee for him.
(See, crappy picture of AK, but he’s the one in the purple.)
Here’s the pretty media center.
And some Walgreens Wellness Tour RV that was parked in a clearing between holes on the course. I think they’re trying to tell us we’re fat.
Here’s the 17th green and some of the fairway.
A putt-putt course! I’m definitely hitting that up at some point. Who wants to play?
Heath Slocum and Vijay Singh probably had the “best” parking spots. Oh, what I found the most amusing were the people in the player’s lot that were hand-shining the BMW Courtesy Cars. I wanted to tell them that whoever was making them do that is a moron because it’s raining and the cars were already clean.
And I save the most intriguing moment of the day for last. Again, I apologize for the 23rd time that my camera phone sucks. But randomly, I spotted Kerry Kittles, the former NBA player, watching the pros practice on the putting green. He stood there for quite a while. I wanted to ask him what his handicap was.
That’s all for Tuesday. I’ll try to remember my camera on Wednesday. And I’m sure it’ll be more exciting and all the players (instead of what felt like 30) will be around. It’s Pro-Am day! Not to mention Tiger Woods Flash Area Interview! What’s the over/under he sticks around for more than three minutes? Huge props if he goes over five minutes.