Observations From The Jamie Farr Toledo Classic - Fathead Celebrity Pro Am Day

Photobucket

Fathead is the sponsor of this year’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic pro am. To mark the occasion, there were larger-than-life, photorealistic cut outs of players, and characters like Wonder Woman and Merida from “Brave.” I thought at first that the emphasis would be on female heroes. But then I noticed a couple of guy cut outs.. I’m totally out of touch with pop culture, so I didn’t recognize the guys. One was in a suit and had a bluetooth headset. No clue. Looks like half the wannabe big shots in America.

Pace of play in the pro-ams was very slow. I followed Paula Creamer’s group for a while; they were killing time on every green waiting for the group ahead to tee off, and then waiting on the tee while that group waited for the one ahead to clear off the subsequent greens. It was so bad that one of the volunteers was joking that the Tournament was going to have to send out a fleet of golf carts to get everyone moving.

To be fair, I guess that the Pro-Am round I played at Colonial was very long also. I just don’t remember it that way. I was too busy having fun and taking it all in. As with my own experience, the amateurs at the Farr-Fathead were chatting it up and having a good time. Several of the holes had food from local restaurants to sample.

Photobucket

Since this was the last day before the tournament, there were lots of autograph seekers. Creamer had a mob follow her from the ninth green to the tenth tee. She was very accommodating, and gracious, saying “you’re welcome” to every one of the numerous “thank yous.” (nice to see she hasn’t succumbed the insipid “no problem.”) As the crowd grew, she noticed that she was well behind here pro-am partners. “Walk with me and I’ll sign them all,” she said. Creamer also stopped for a number of photo ops with spectators and at one point posed with a baby in a carriage:

Photobucket

imageI don’t think the pros minded the delay too much, however. On every green, I saw them practicing shots from different locations, and chipping from likely spots off the green.  Several of the players’ caddies had “fake holes” which they dropped onto the green. These usually were small white rings, but a couple looked like vinyl markers. When they laid the holes down, I couldn’t help but the old Roadrunner cartoons in which Wile E. Coyote tried to trap the bird with his ACME Portable Holes.

Kia has a nice thing going this week. As patrons enter the course, they can pick up a badge with a barcode at the main entrance. At four locations around the course, Kia has small displays set up. Each has a couple of cars and a computer terminal under a sun shelter. If you scan your badge at all four stations, you can turn it in on your way out and pick up a golf towel. One display also gave you a pair of sunglasses just for stopping in.

I took a look at the Optima they had at one station. Very nice. That’s a car I’d like to take on an extended test drive.

Kia also provides all of the shuttle cars this week.

Photobucket

Just two pre tournament media room interviews today: Paula Creamer and Ai Miyazato. Yesterday the featured players were Na Yeon Choi and Stacy Lewis. The questions from the full-time media were pretty much the same as with every other golf tournament I’ve covered: How is your game shaping up? What do you think of the course? Are you happy to be at the tournament? How do you get motivated? How’s the injured X? And the answers also were the same: I’m playing better; one round at a time; one hole at a time; the course is great; I love this tournament; I love the people at this tournament; My injury is getting better. Blah Blah Blah.

It’s the same thing, you’ll notice, at the PGA Tour pre tournament meet-the-press events broadcast on the Golf Channel. Once you’ve seen a couple of those, you pretty much know every question and answer.

This week at the Jamie Farr is a little different because of the overlap with the Olympics. Each of the players was asked about their opinions on golf in the Olympics. Naturally, they were in favor.

I admit though, that I don’t really have anything better to ask. I’d like to ask some questions on course strategy, but since no one else seems to be asking those questions, I demur. I wonder if doing so would be like asking a football coach to reveal his game plan before the kickoff. Since I’m just starting out in this pro-coverage business, I don’t want to burn any bridges by committing faux pas.

Post-round interviews tend to be somewhat more interesting. Then, writers get the players to reveal some of what happened and what they were thinking at various points. Those interviews also have their games, though. Most of the writers seem to spend most of their time in the air-conditioned safety of the press room. So the first thing they have a player do is recount their round: “On one, I hit a driver to 120 and then a wedge to ten feet. I played two feet of break for a birdie. On two, it was a four iron …” and so on. The writers then post their articles as though they had witnessed the events live.

My favorite example of this came a couple of years ago at the Senior Open at Inverness. As far as I could tell, the relatively well known writer had not gotten out of his chair all day long; that is to say, he was in the same position each time I returned from hiking around the course. At the post round interview, he drilled one of the leaders on the details of his round, asking about every drive, iron, chip and putt on every hole. The next day, I looked up the story he had posted. It went something like this (and I’m paraphrasing, so don’t try to Google this): “It was one of the best rounds I have ever witnessed.” Funny thing was, I had followed the same guy for 18 holes and thought the writer had done a pretty good job for not having seen a blade of grass.

I wonder if everyone gets tired of the game. I think they do. Yesterday, I heard one reporter tell another that it was “Tuesday and I’m already cynical about this week.”

I’m not. This stuff is just too much fun.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Original Golf Blogger on Patreon!

1 thought on “Observations From The Jamie Farr Toledo Classic - Fathead Celebrity Pro Am Day”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: