Behind the Scenes at Doral, Pre-Tourney Edition
By Stephanie Wei under Behind the Scenes

Due to popular demand, “Behind the Scenes” is back — not that it really left — but it will appear on a weekly (or regular) basis going forward now…

Here now, I’m attempting the TaylorMade’s Rocketballz Launch Party Glow Ball Experience, wearing a dress and no shoes (not to mention a two glasses of wine deep). The first swing was decent and made it into the “target box,” but I should have stopped while I was ahead because it’s an understatement to say the next few attempts were embarrassing!

So, what’s been going on behind the scenes at Doral? Well, lots! This is one of those tourneys where just about everyone stays on-site and you really can’t go from Point A to Point B without running into at least two example. I mean, let’s say it’s the middle of the afternoon and you’re fetching something you left in your room — just walking back across the roundabout to the main building (clubhouse, media center, etc.), you might run into Butch Harmon, who  just finished working with Dustin Johnson, or Gary Woodland, who’s cooling down after a workout in the gym. On a related note, Butch was wearing a flat-bill Titleist hat, which was an interesting look.

I couldn’t confirm this, so take it for what it’s worth, but word is Tiger is pulling a Phil — he’s flying back-and-forth from Doral to his home in Jupiter via helicopter.

I’ve been doing the anonymous players survey for SI’s Masters preview issue and I thought about camping out in the lobby, where I have somewhere to sit, instead of standing around by the putting green and/or driving range, to track down guys. OK, I probably wouldn’t go that far, but just trying to paint a picture. It’s not unusual to see Webb Simpson (who was meeting his personal trainer for workout session) or Charles Howell III or Martin Kaymer passing through on their way to the gym, or Justin Rose checking in.

Here are some more pics and anecdotes from the week…

View of practice green at Doral from Rocketballz Launch Party

Some guy attempting the Rocketballz Glow Ball Experience (That's what the TM guys made up on the spot)


Me attempting the Glow Ball Rocketballz Challenge. I should have stopped after I hit the first one decently.


Another really Glowballz-rave-ish shot


Um, can anyone say 'highest'? The Donald better fire someone for this epic coaster typo fail!


Rory and his parents' "spot" for dinner at Doral (he's trying to be incognito with the hat, but obviously still recognized by a fan...but he got through the rest of dinner in peace, though....)

After dinner on Tuesday, some of us wandered to the upstairs bar/lounge afterward, and well, we ran into someone who may or may not have had one too many Stellas...Apparently he played a practice round at 6:15 the next morning. I bet that was awesome.

On another note, I can confirm Robert Rock’s hair is real, and I can check that off the bucket list. Earlier that day, I met him at the range and chatted with him a bit after he was kind enough to do the Masters survey. He’s not “invited,” but joked he was going to wear a green jacket all week, hoping Augusta National Golf Club will grant him a special invitation. Afterward, I tweeted this.

Moving on to Wednesday!

Paul Casey doing awkward PGA Tour/FEC promos

Paul Casey is making his first start this season after injuring his shoulder in a freak snowboarding accident on Christmas Eve. I sat down with him on Wednesday morning and had a lively chat with him — the Q&A should be post on sometime today. I was super impressed with how well-versed he was in the different muscles, ligaments, and bones that were affected in his multiple injuries over the last year. I mean, he nearly sounded like a first-year med student! Usually when you ask a player about his injury, you don’t get the that kind of in-depth explanation.

He was also quite proud of his X-rays and showed them to a few reporters after his presser. Here’s his shoulder when it was dislocated (right after it happened):

X-ray of Paul Casey's dislocated shoulder

Now an X-ray of his shoulder after it’s been put back in:

X-ray of Paul Casey's shoulder (in the socket)

Silly me, I forgot to take a picture, but I met up with Katie Brophy, an old friend from junior golf who is now the head coach of the Georgetown women’s golf team. I hadn’t seen Katie in nearly a decade. I was impressed she actually remembered the last time we saw each other — which was in the ice cream shop my senior year (fall 2004) when she was visiting her sister Ellie, who also played golf at Yale. Katie and her girls (the team) are in Florida playing in some tournaments, but they had a free day yesterday, so they popped by Doral, got some pics taken with their favorite players and caught a glimpse of Tiger. (Gosh, that made me feel kinda old! It doesn’t seem THAT long ago when I was like them and playing college golf!)

Champions Sports Bar & Grill late Wednesday night...there were two of us and then the Donald suddenly showed up and a crowd gathered.


The Donald wondering why the five cheeseburgers he ordered took 23 minutes, 41 seconds to be served...(yep, I seriously timed it.)

I didn’t act like a fan girl and ask for a picture or autograph (not really my thing), but I actually didn’t need to since his face is plastered on these posters conveniently positioned in nearly every inch of the resort.

Me and The Donald (and his hair) hanging out in the lobby

You may have seen pictures or noticed on TV that the TaylorMade players are wearing hats with “17” on them. What does the “17” mean? The RBZ is being touted in PR campaigns as being 17 yards longer than last year’s 3-wood. Oh, and what’s this?

Is that a football jersey? Or a golf shirt?

You’ll see soon enough.