It was a day of firsts for NLU; my first time to Pebble Beach, nolayingup.com’s first taste of official respect as a ‘powerhouse’ media entity, and for many fans and players, the first inkling of NLU’s existence. This entire post will read a lot better if you picture us exactly like we were for the entire day.
Allow me to share a few notes from the field:
We made it, sort of.
‘Hi I’m here to pick up my media badge.’
‘Who are you representing?’
‘Oh, yes! Right here, and don’t forget your press hat (a fresh burnt orange and grey with the pebble logo).’
Keep in mind, we started this blog 38 days ago. My day was made already.
However, on my way to the media parking lot I saw The Big Unit, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, posting up hard on a set of stairs during the wind/rain delay (we profiled ‘Arm’ as a YOTTO candidate last month).
“Let’s go Big Unit!!!” I said with uber- jollyness from the car window accompanied by a thumbs up. He just stared. Maybe he didn’t understand me, or maybe he thought I was some schwaldo (which I am, but now I’m a schwaldo with a media badge, a schwaldo with…access). We parked and walked back into the tourney grounds to find ‘The Big Unit’ pacing back and forth where we left him. He was antsy, and for good reason, as I’d learn later he had a 6 foot birdie putt on #8 to get him back to level par. Never wanting to disrupt any player’s focus, NLU opted to speak with the good ole’ boy holding court near his caddie (his caddie is a stone cold Thai guy – love that). We speculate this was his agent (though the wily old veteran wouldn’t share his name, even with a trusted NLU field reporter). I asked him how ‘Arm’ was feeling while he was out of earshot. He said Arm was ‘up and down,’ and the discussion turned toward the Master’s invitation he should have received back in December. Our guy was heated (in a laid back good ole boy way).
‘Well of course Augusta just had to go and change up the rules this year.’
Traditionally, the Order of Merit winner on The Asian Tour (money leader) has an automatic invite from Augusta. Arm boat raced the Asian tour last year taking home twice as much dough as the next best Asian player, but this year, due to a larger than normal field, they haven’t extended the invite to Arm, and they have already included his Thai compatriot Thongchai Jaidee. Arm may need a ‘W’ on the West Coast Swing, or at least some solid finishes to find himself among the azaleas come April. He finished with a MDF.
DJ (far left) getting his future father-in-law lined up; JD lost in thought.
After walking the sanctuary course out to #7 to see Kurt Russell stuff one and Tommy Two Gloves airmail the windy par-3, my roommate Paul and I met up with NLU contributor and VP of Business Development Colonel Terry Bare on 17 green. This is when the real fun began. We set up shop next to the celebrity tee box on 18. First foursome to come through: The Main Event – Dustin Johnson, JD, Kid Rock, and The Great One.
After we chatted Wayne up about the website, Gretzky turned with a smile and said, ‘There’s actually a NoLayingUp.com?’ Of course there is, Great One!
He continued: “The fact that there’s actually a NoLayingUp.com is much more impressive than me getting home in two. Too bad I don’t know how to turn a computer on. I just use the phone and fax machines.” Wow, what a legend. Our attempts to speak with NLU hall of famer John Daly again came up short – as you can see, he was deep in reflection on the far side.
As the feature foursome strolled down 18 fairway, next up was the Belichik and Brady duo playing with TE draft prospect Ricky Barnes. As the rain picked up, The Hoodman traded his cut off Patriots sweatshirt with his caddie for classy looking rain gear. What a sellout. Neither Hoodman nor famed Ugg’s model Tom Brady acknowledged the adoring fans or the NLU contingetn, and both ended up in the Pacific off the tee. Karma? You be the judge.
As the gallery followed the stars down 18 like sheep, the Colonel, Paul, and I stayed tight on the ropes at the 18th tee, and as he awaited his Pro-Am partners Ray Ramano’s train wreck drive, NLU had a few precious moments to put a bug in pro golfer Andrew Svoboda’s ear during the fading light of Saturday afternoon. NLU:
“Hey, bro…you gotta go for it in 2! No laying up! You got this!” (encouraging).
Mr. Svoboda: after a moment, and with an apathetic shrug — “Yeah sure, I guess I’ll go for it.”
The Colonel and I were feeling righteous and nodding up and down to each other (inside voice: yeah, man– we’re motivating these guys!). As Svoboda took off into the grey drizzle, we took a quick peek at the leader board aside the 17th fairway, and there it was, just a bit late, but bright and clear through the windy rain: Andrew Svoboda (PB), +12 for the day.
For the record, NLU strives to be a positive influence on our golfing brethren and sistren. We would never knowingly kick a man while he was down (a la Johnny Miller), and we will say Andrew Svoboda, after engaging NLU eyeball-to-eyeball on the cold and desolate 18th tee, penciled in a par, 5 on that last hole — something he was not able to do on 10 other holes that day.
So, who knows, maybe our encouragement to get aggressive and finish strong lit the fuse when he could have mailed it in like his Pro-am partner Ray Romano (who sprayed his first drive O.B. – right of Rush Limbaugh and duck-hooked his 2nd one off the rocks into the stormy Pacific). We appreciated his chivalrous response and dogged determination, coupled with an outstanding Laissez-Faire attitude in the face of an unfortunate day. Andrew Svoboda — you are the man. NLU salutes you on the rest of your 2014 campaign.
As the sun set behind the grey sky and white-capped waves, we headed up to the media headquarters to unwind and compare notes. We grabbed some Coca-Colas and made sure there was no wrap-up ‘presser’ (unfortunately we were too late). As we were warming up, we struck up a conversation with Gary, who seemed to be the head of something media related (he definitely took himself seriously). He sized us up incredulously after I introduced NLU, and responded with, “never heard of Nolayingup.com.” A few minutes later, as we were standing out front in the cold, it dawned on me that they must have some grub for the media somewhere nearby, so I went back in to ask. As the director of media was lecturing the volunteers for the lax security (graciously letting The Colonel tag along), he turned and looked me up and down. Shocked by my nerve to return. he sneered, “The food is long gone.”
Nerve is all we have here at NLU, and we’ll see you on-site at the Heritage, Gary!
Are those Corduroys on the golf course? Yes, yes they are.
Bonus Section: The Military Tent!
One final note: We’re huge supporters of our military here at NLU, and we wanted to throw a big thanks to the AT&T Pebble Beach team for the awesome Military Appreciation tent by the 15th green. Our contributor Colonel Terry Bare was greeted along with other troops and families with the full treatment. Great chow, hospitality, and fantastic greenside seats to watch all the action. A special tip of the hat to the remarkable Mr. Bobby Sparks, who makes it all run smoothly. We appreciate the support to our military service men and women!