AT&T National Pro-Am Day Thoughts
By Kickntrue on 7/2/08
I worked the first half of the Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am at Congressional Country Club this morning. The Pro-Am is open to the public and serves as a practice round for the pros and the chance of a lifetime for a few lucky hacks. Here are my quick thoughts and observations.

1) Pros must hate doing this.
So you'd think just being at a great course watching a pro play would be fun, but then you remember the "Am" part and have to watch 3 bad golfers hit a lot more shots than the pros ever would. You could read the body language pretty clearly with a lot of the pros- this stinks. They just stand as far away as they can on the green- and just pray for it to be over. You think you'd love the chance to hit one or two great shots and have the crowd say, "That wasn't the pro?" Well, yes- that WOULD be nice- but from what I saw it doesn't happen. Don't kid yourself folks- even if you are a 10 handicap or better- you're probably not very fun to watch.

2) Robert Garrigus' Putter Length
I know I've mentioned before in the comments section of our site the length of Robert Garrigus' putter- but it's worth mentioning again. It's ridiculously short. Imagine going to a putt-putt course and taking the shortest putter they have and playing with it. It's official length is listed as 28", shortest on Tour. I think it looks more like 18 when he's standing over the ball.

3) Camillo Villegas is as odd as you'd think, but the ladies love him.
Camillo looks like he's walked right out of an Abercrombie catalog, of course we already knew this. Combine that with his unique style in reading putts on the green and you get an odd looking cat. I don't know what it is though- the ladies love him. I was standing next to two Seventy-something older ladies who were absolutely smitten by him walking by. I thought they were going to have heart attacks on the spot. Camillo shook his bleached locks and a drop of greasy goodness drop off to the ground. It was all I could do to keep the ladies inside the ropes. I think they were going to go home and press the blade of grass with Camillo's DNA for cloning purposes.

4) If you have money- you can have quite a round.
As painful as it was to watch the amateurs play- it sure looked like they were having the time of their lives. Bring your wallet though. The "charitable donation" it takes to get you in a foursome will cost you. The rumors flying around had a foursome costing $20k- or well over $6500/person once you factor in the pro.

I saw one guy (I should say kid- he looked like he was maybe 17 or 18 with a rich daddy on his bag) totally Tin Cup it. He rolled a ball into thick brush near a water hazard and decided he was going to hack out. His next moments went: water, drop, water, drop, water, drop, green about 45 feet from the hole. He then proceeded to analyze each putt like it was for a Major victory. Did I mention the play was slow?

[read: jealousy]

5) Congressional Country Club can be set up to be very mean.
The hole I was stationed on was a 516 yard par 4. Even with the amateurs playing from more forward tees- I didn't see one of them hit the green in two with over 75 of them coming through on my watch. The pros were faring a little better (from the tips) but not by much. While it was one of the toughest holes on the course- it's pretty easy to see why Congressional Country Club has been chosen to host majors in the past and will do so again in the future.

One fun "course note" is from before the groups got to the hole and I was watching the grounds crew cut and prepare the hole for the day. It took a group of about 10 people about 25 minutes to get that single green ready for play on pro-am day. The greens are just amazing- without a single blemish. They are so perfect- and the crew is so good at what they do- that they actually cut the pin about 4 feet away from its previous location and didn't have to even worry about the plug being an issue. I know none of the courses I play on a regular basis would or could pull that off.

Everything is a meticulous process and the crew takes a lot of pride in their work. The gentleman cutting the hole stood over the flag for 4 minutes just make sure it stood perfectly straight and the cup was placed correctly. Also- it's funny to me that with all of the technology that exists and advancements in any profession- golf maintenance crews still cut and pull holes with the same tools- regardless of where you're at. You'd think they have some hydro-super-cutter that insures perfection- but it's all by hand and based on the feel of the hole-cutter.

That's all for today- enjoy watching the first round tomorrow. For more info on the event- check in here.

[ comments ]
klangdon says:
Do all the pros have to do the pro am round or is it just the lower level guys?
Kickntrue says:
I'm not sure how the pros are chosen. It's def. not all of them but high and low level. In fact- I'd say it was most of the top names who were playing.

Interestingly enough- I mentioned in the post how pros must hate pro-ams. I was reading a book last night with an interview with Tom Weiskopf and one of the things he said was that pros HATE pro-ams. I can see why.
Kickntrue says:
Also- I have a full grounds pass for the ATT National for that is good today-Sunday for full admission for all 4 days that I cannot use. If there is anyone in the area who'd like it- shoot me an email and we'll try to connect. Your gift from me.
[ post comment ]
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