Feb
17
2011
Behind-the-Scenes on Wednesday at Riviera
By Stephanie Wei under Behind the Scenes

Range shot at Riviera

My left foot isn’t happy, but I get stir-crazy sitting in the media center when I should be outside scouring the practice areas and course. So, off I went sans crutches, no less (they’re such a pain when I’m trying to take notes and I look way cooler limping than hobbling, anyway — which, of course, is totally important). First of all, I definitely need a cover story in the place of the actual, lame one. I ran into Hunter Mahan before his press conference and Twitter chat, who suggested I go with something like, “I was diving off the stage at the Bird’s Nest to crowd surf and those drunks dropped me.”

Secondly, I need to find Mark Wilson and tell him the real story (I was rushing to watch him play the second playoff hole when I stepped in the sprinker-box hole and tripped). I’m going to say, “THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!” Kidding. But I’m going to ask him to sign my bionic boot, and thanks to Callaway’s Johnny T, I’m armed with a silver sharpie pen.

Anyway, I started at the range and went down the line chatting with players and caddies who weren’t too preoccupied. No. 10 came up a lot and everyone loves it, so my curiosity was piqued. I wandered over there to see what the fuss was all about (and now I’m completely intrigued). On the way, I ran into Mike Putnam, who mocked my limp.

I popped by the Callaway van, which was parked near the 10th green, to say hello for a few minutes.

Here’s a look inside:

The guys tearing down shop and packing up to leave…

I was pleased to see Fred Couples walking up the 10th fairway as I was limping toward the green. He must have hit driver and chipped up from just next to the green for an easy three (I think). I was snapping some pictures with my phone from near the trees about 20 yards short of the green.

Freddie was walking off when I noticed he was gesturing, “What happened?” I was very confused and there was like a 3-second delay until I realized he was talking to me. He was about 20-30 yards away and then he finally point at his leg and hollered, “What did you do to your leg??” Oh, bad sprain. (I don’t really get starstruck out here, except for a few legends and one is Freddie, my childhood hero)

/swoon

I made my way behind 10 green, which is adjacent to 11 tee. Freddie teed off 11 (and wasn’t happy with his drive) and then walked over and said, “So what did you do? Just playing golf?”

I gave him the short version of the embarrassing fiasco during the Phoenix Open playoff. He asked, “Are you suing?”

Um, no.

“Sue ’em,” said Fred.

Um, no. Not worth it.

“Well, you’re still working and having fun, I guess,” he replied with a shrug.

So that happened. Weird, but still swooning.

Here’s another picture of No. 10 — from the green down the fairway toward the tee (for more views of the green and photos of the yardage book, check out this post).

Miguel Rivera, who loops for Charley Hoffman, showed me his yardage book of the par-4 No. 8, which used to be one of his favorite holes until they made the changes and pulled the trees out from the middle. It’s a split fairway and there used to be trees that you had to shape the ball around. Now, it’s one big, open field and it doesn’t fit the course anymore.

I also ran into Peter Tomasulo, who saw the big boot on my leg and asked what happened. I replied, “Oh, you know, I was playing basketball with some friends during a tournament and broke my foot.” You may recall that Peter was sporting a cast last fall/winter from doing what I just described. Breaking your foot is better than spraining/fracturing it, in my opinion. They’re both just as painful, but at least the bones heal, whereas sprains don’t ever fully get better.

Here’s Hunter Mahan with his caddie John Wood, who is helping Hunter with a drill at the range.

Thanks to Twitter follower @koskilini for seeing me at the range and snapping this pic (I’m chatting with Hunter and John about No. 10):

I noticed the Asian players all had huge entourages and lots of camera people surrounding them. I shared a laugh with some of the other guys, who were confused about the whole phenomenon, too.

First, here’s Y.E. Yang, who you can’t even see, but I promise you he’s there!

Next, Ryuji Imada, who is a really cool guy and I think most Americans don’t know how funny he is.

Finally, here’s Yuta Ikeda. It took me some time to figure out who he was because none of the Americans knew either.

Alright, that’s all for Wednesday. Looking forward to some awesome golf this week. The forecast says it’s going to stay clear on Thursday, but the rain is supposed to come back on Friday and stay through Saturday. Let’s hope that it just goes away altogether.