Tidbits From Inside the Ropes: Transitions Championship
By Stephanie Wei under Behind the Scenes

*Update: I had to take down the photo of me and Ellie because apparently I’m violating PGA Tour media rights. Sadly, I’ve just been informed that I can’t post pictures from practice days, either! I’ve explained to the Tour that it’s a disservice to you guys, the readers, who are also PGA Tour fans.

In the spirit of my “Behind the Scenes” post, I’m starting another weekly feature that’s similar. You see, once the tournament starts, I catch some random bits and funny stuff happens that isn’t quite worthy of a standalone post, so I figure the solution is to compile them into a longer one at the end of the week. I’m still trying to think of a meme for the feature — suggestions welcome! — but “Tidbits From Inside the Ropes” will have to do for now. Enjoy!

*I forgot to include an amusing exchange from Wednesday. I was with my colleague Farrell Evans and we ran into Stephen Ames. Farrell says, “Hey Amesy, I saw your coach yesterday.” Ames looks at him with a completely straight (albeit goofy) face and deadpans, “Oh yeah, Tiger’s coach?” Then, as if on cue, we all start cracking up. Later that afternoon, I walked past Sean Foley and Ames, who were headed to the range. I jokingly said to Ames, “Ah, I see you found Tiger’s coach!” He playfully pretended he was going to push me into the practice bunker. He’s a beauty.

*I walked a few holes with Jason Day’s group on Sunday afternoon, mostly to catch up with his wife, Ellie, who has become a friend in the past year. In the picture above, we took a little break from our blabbing session for a quick photo op. Ellie was telling me about some of the drama and cattiness that erupted in response to the article about the tour wives seeking a reality show. (She would never do that, but doesn’t care if others want to because it’s between them and their husbands.) Apparently watching the drama unfold on Facebook was rather entertaining.

*Here’s something you might not have known — Paul Casey is really funny. He’s a great quote, too. I do a lot of behind the scenes reporting for SI stories and this week I had to talk to Paul about Lee Westwood. My first question was, “What do you like about Lee, the person?” Paul dryly replied with a mischievous look, “What said I liked him?” He was only kidding. He gave me great answers, which in turn, made me look good when I reported back. I can’t reveal any other details for now, but he was a fantastic quote.

*I had a follow-up question to ask Paul, so I tracked him down after his round on Saturday. He didn’t play his best (shot even par). But he still had his sense of humor. He glanced down at the belt loops of his caddie, Christian Donald (Luke’s brother), and noticed Christian had an abnormality. “For f—‘s sake!” said Casey. “You missed a loop! No wonder I played like rubbish. If I would have caught that on the first hole, I would have made that putt!” He was joking, obviously. I’m not doing his dry sense of humor justice.

*On St. Patrick’s Day, I asked Christian where his green was. “It’s on my watch,” he said, showing me his Rolex with green piping (don’t know what the proper word is, but it’s the border of the watch or the band that circles the top?). “A-ha. Nice watch,” I said. “Thanks, it was a gift from my brother,” he replied. Forgetting Christian was Luke’s brother, I said, “Wow, you’ve got a nice brother.” Smiling, he said, “Yeah, sometimes he can be.” Except when he fires you…

*A group of caddies, including Mark Fulcher (Justin Rose), Scott Vail (Brandt Snedeker), Miguel Rivera (Charley Hoffman), Shay Knight (Matt Jones) and others, stayed at a house on the water about a mile down the road from the course. As Scott dubbed, it was “like a frat house this week.” It sure looked nice. Just check out the view, via Fouch’s Twitter.

And go here to check out videos of the “Swing Vision Biz Hub,” hosted by “Peter Kostis.” Funny stuff, guys!

*The caddies have been hit by the Twitter bug! Fouch joined a few weeks ago and Scott is a recent convert. On Saturday I followed Matteo “Manny” Manassero (who might be one of my new favorite players — he’s the nicest, friendliest kid) and Brandt Snedeker for a few holes. As I was walking from 17 green to 18 tee, Scott, whom I hadn’t met yet at this point, said something like, “So have you been enjoying the pictures of our house?” I looked at him blankly. Huh? What pictures? Then he mentioned Fouch and I realized he was staying at the caddie house. He said that he hopped on the Twitter bandwagon this week and was following me. I felt very honored!

*Apparently Garrett Willis’ caddie, Brennan Webb, is on Twitter, too. (According to Intern Kevin, who is the king of random info, Webb is a mini tour player and loops occasionally. He’s also a Canadian.) As he was walking off the ninth tee during the final round, Brennan said something like, “Your foot looks better than it did in the pictures a few weeks ago on Twitter.” I was taken aback and first thing that popped out of my mouth was, “What? You’re following me on Twitter??”

*If you follow my Twitter, then you know I have the tendency to put slow players on the clock. Well, I decided fast players should also be commended for their good times. I knew Brandt was really fast, but I think Manny is almost faster! The field should follow the pace of play those two set — yes, we can dream. From the time they put the tee in the ground to when they hit the ball, Brandt and Manny took 21 seconds and 20 seconds, respectively. They also walk really fast. At one point on the back nine, they were almost two holes ahead of the group behind them.

*Slow play winner of the week? Webb Simpson on Sunday. I timed him on the 9th green. It took him nearly two minutes to putt. It…was…painful.

*Stewart Cink is a smart guy with a fantastic memory. He actually pays close attention to his followers and @replies. So if you’re following him and frequently @reply him, chances are he’ll remember you! When I approached Stewie after his round to ask him about the strange tweets, I introduced myself first. He said, “I feel like I know you already.” I replied, “Oh, well, probably because I’m out here almost every week.”

“No, from Twitter,” said Cink. “You used to reply to me all the time, but you don’t anymore!”

Wow, great memory — because that was like two years ago. I like Stewie even more now…even though he didn’t actually send that funny tweet.

And man, I love Twitter.

*Finally, here’s a picture of Gary Woodland’s winning clubs (which were left unattended while he was in the interview room — gasp!).

I’m heading out to Bay Hill this afternoon, so hopefully I’ll have some more behind-the-scenes footage this evening! Stay tuned.