Feb
15
2011
Tuesday at Riviera: a Limp Around the Practice Areas
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

View of the driving range at Riviera from the practice green

Now I understand why the Tour told me that handicapped parking wasn’t going to be the best option when I asked last week. The clubhouse is on the top of a hill, while the media center is next to the first fairway. The hill is already quite the workout without a bum ankle and crutches. (Vaughn Taylor looked like he was about to collapse after trekking up the stairs! Golfers = athletes!) Good thing crutches are very handy for procuring cart rides.

When I popped by the range this afternoon, I got a lot of “WTF?” gestures from people who saw me hobbling over. I’m told I need to come up with a better story or at least tell people I was drunk because the real one isn’t that glamorous. I mean, sorry! I was just doing my job and I was excited about the Wilson/Dufner duel! There are some perks, though — which Stuart Appleby pointed out to me, too.

He walked over and asked, “Do you have kids?” I gave him a weird look and said, “Uh, no.”

“Keep the boot,” Appleby advised. “It’s great for cutting the line at airports.” He went on to explain how his wife broke her toe a few years ago and they were whisked to the front of 500-meter lines and taken through security because she had on a bionic boot like mine.

Trust me, I realize this. I had an awful experience at Sky Harbor in Phoenix, but yesterday morning at JFK was the opposite. I had door-to-door service once I arrived to the airport in a wheelchair (wish I had a picture of getting wheeled around). It only took 20 minutes max from when I stepped out of the cab to when I sat in my seat on the plane. I’m thinking of keeping the boot and crutches as props once my ankle gets better! Just kidding…

Naturally, my old buddy Michael Putnam (we had/have the same swing coach since we were kids) clowned on my condition and my height. Mike, who is 6’5″, tried out my crutches at the range.

Mike deadpanned, “Did the hospital get these out of the midget supply?”

Rookie Keegan Bradley, who has made four cuts in four starts, received a last-minute sponsor’s exemption for this week. He was all set to play in the Monday qualifier when he got a call on Monday morning. Keegan finished T15 last week at Pebble Beach. In his practice round this morning, he teed it up with Cameron Tringale, Stewart Cink and Joe Durant. Keegan, who hits the ball a mile, took driver on almost every hole. “I wouldn’t want to be a short hitter this week,” he said.

The greens are firm and lightning fast, according to various players and caddies. I can attest to this. I was messing around with my new favorite putter, the Odyssey D.A.R.T., and I hit it 10 feet past the hole. The greens seem pure, like the rest of the course, though. The D.A.R.T. comes in red now, but I still prefer the black one.

Okay, picture time! Here’s the first hole at Riviera from the tee:

Paul Goydos working on his putting.

View from the hill. Again, it’s a hike!

Matt Kuchar chats in an interview for EA Sports about Tiger Woods PGA Tour.

Ryan Palmer working on some drills with his putting coach.

See the sun rays on the green? That was the most sun we saw all day. Let’s hope the rain stays away, but the forecast looks gloomy…