I’ve got story after story from the Memorial. As was mentioned in Part I of our Memorial Tournament Preview, I’ve been attending this tournament since I was a child. Some of these stories are interesting, and some aren’t, so eject from this at your own leisure.
This was touched on by Don Delco in his preview for This Week News, but I need to share the best Memorial story I have. The year is 1999, and I’m attending a practice round with two friends as an impressionable 7th grader. This is the height of Tigermania, and it took an engineering degree to plan out the proper location to get a glimpse of the Big Feline. After several failed attempts on the front nine, I camped out between the 10th green and the 11th tee and waited, uncapped blue sharpie in hand.
The excitement built as he strode up the hill to the tee, and I was ready. What didn’t help was my small stature as a 12 year old, and I was quickly bullied by grown men reaching over top of me, jamming up against the ropes, desperately sticking their Nike hats with the tags still on them in the Big Cat’s face. My arms remained outstretched despite the claustrophobia, and as Tiger passes by, the mayhem overwhelmed me, and I barely even saw Cat as he walked by. I felt like I had been molested, and couldn’t tell who it was from. But I swore it felt like I brushed Tiger’s shoulder as he walked by, but there was no way to tell, because I couldn’t see anything.
I made my way to the hill behind the 11th tee where I circled back up with my friends (who will 100% validate this story).
“Did you get it!?”
“No. But I think I wrote on his shirt.”
“He brushed right by me. I had my sharpie out. I think I wrote on his shirt!”
We moved up even higher so that we could see him on the tee box. There he stood with Butch Harmon, pulling on his shirt to get the full view in sight, and there it was. Approximately a 6-8 inch blue streak from his left pectoral all the way across to his left sleeve. Harmon and him looked at it and laughed. My friends jaws dropped.
“YOU JUST WROTE ON TIGER WOODS!”
I ditched my blue sharpie, thinking that the FBI was going to be hunting down the culprit. I ran home to tell my mom about it, who pretty much rolled her eyes at the story. A few hours later, we’re in the kitchen with the news on, and they do a tease going into a commercial break about an update from the Memorial. Sure enough, they show Big Cat lean down to pick his ball up out of the hole, and as he rises, as clear as day, the blue streak across his chest.
To this day, I do not have Tiger’s autograph, but he has mine.
A few more:
- Armed with my best friend and fellow golf addict Frank, we decided to follow Justin Leonard around one year for reasons that are still unknown. Leonard make a double-bogey on one of the holes on the back, but followed it with a birdie. My 13-ish year old self felt the need to give our guy a boost, so I gave him a “Way to fight back, Justin!” call in a high pitched voice that did not come off nearly as cool as I thought it would in my head. To this day, whenever I follow a terrible hole with a good one, Frank will give me a “Way to fight back, Justin!” call that brings me right back to that awkward encounter every time.
- In either 2006 or 2007, Fil, Tron, and I (along with our friend Kyle) are walking into the tournament. When I say that everyone snuck their phone into the tournament, I mean EVERYONE. Cell phones were still prohibited at this point, and to say security was lazy about it would be complimenting the volunteers at the entrance gates. The procedure consisted of them literally just asking you if you had a cell phone on you. Sure enough, I get asked if I have a phone on me. “Yep, absolutely….. I mean NO, NO.” And they STILL didn’t search me for the phone.
- Back in 2005, three young future No Laying Up founders were in search of some alcoholic beverages, yet we had not yet reached the legal drinking age. With the abundance of corporate parties, this was rarely an issue, and a friend of ours from Indy tipped us off on a house that we should go to. The only problem was, we didn’t know a single person at this party. He told us not to worry, and to just show up at the Duke Realty house off to the side of the 15th hole, and if anyone asks who we know, just say that we’re friends of a “Wes Podell.” If they really ask questions, say that Wes couldn’t make it because he’s been busy working on the Anson Project. We gathered up the courage to check out the scene, and obtained our beverages, and were feeling pretty good about ourselves. We watched golf from the yard and joked about how it just wasn’t the same to not have our old buddy Wes there with us (a joke we still continue to this day). After a couple beers, someone finally realizes that there are teenagers there drinking beers in their yard, and they asked us who we knew. We went into our speech, but the middle aged man was not impressed. He very kindly asked us to leave. Thanks for nothing, Wes.
- It’s 2006, and Nick Price is putting on the practice green after his round. The green is pretty crowded, and there’s a decent amount of people standing around watching. There are two gentlemen there that are CLEARLY attending their first ever PGA Tour event. Cut-off tees, jeans, and cans of PBR that weren’t even available for purchase within the grounds (I’m actually extremely impressed that they pulled that one off, and still don’t know how). These guys are determined to get Nick’s attention…. only they think this is Nick Faldo, not Price. They are stunned when Price doesn’t turn around to constant “Faldo! Hey FALDO!” yells from less than 30 feet away. This goes on for long enough that finally Price has to run around and yell at them: “I’m not Nick Faldo. I’m Nick Price!” About fifteen minutes later, we’re walking the front-nine backwards when we see these guys getting escorted out the gate on the 8th tee, with their female significant others bitching all the while about how dumb they were.
“I’m Nick PRICE!”
- Lastly, it’s still 2006 and we’re hanging out around the 10th green and see David Duval teeing off. We’re curious to see him as he was in like year three of his prolonged stint in the wilderness (at this point he’d made 13 of his last 61 cuts). As he’s getting announced, this sales-type in his mid-thirties decked out in Nike gear turns to his buddy and says “Look at Duval. That guy is such a menace. I bet he shoots 65 today.” Tron, Fil, and I turn to one another in awe of this absurd proclamation and refer to Duval as a “menace” to this day.
Enjoy the week and catch us on twitter during coverage @NoLayingUp.