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  1. #1
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    PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    This past week, I volunteered as a marshall for the PGA Championship at Hazeltine and had a lot of great experiences, so I thought I'd share at least a couple of those for any golf fans that would appreciate it. Despite how he finished and all of the other great things that happened during the tourney, my fondest momories were of Tom Lehman throughout the week.


    I've always liked Tom Lehman as a golfer, but never fully realized what a great guy he was and how important he was to golf in the state of MN until this past week (I'm not originally from MN).
    • My wife and I first talked a little bit with Tom at a meet & greet event the Saturday before the championship where he met with fans, graciouly signed autographs and told everyone how happy he was to be back in his home state. Our meeting was brief, but I was impressed with his kindness from the get go.
    • I then watched Tom play the hole I was working (#1) Monday & Tuesday during his practice rounds and then later at the range and practice green after my shift was over - the guy can still play too. You could tell he was taking this very seriously and wanted to put on a good show for the hometown crowd.
    • The next day (Wed - last practice round before the tourney started), Tom was the last guy on the course and I went out to follow him for the final 4-5 holes. Tom was putting in a lot of time out there and you knew he was really trying to concentrate on what he had to do, but yet he smiled at everyone who acknowledged him and stopped to sign every single autograph & to pose for all pictures asked of him as he completed each hole (mostly from adults & most players only cater to kids, if anyone at all). That really impressed me b/c not many of the players took the time to do that.
    • On the 17th hole, I was walking up along the ropes as Tom & his caddy walked up the fairway and a shy man came up to ask Tom if he knew "Mr. So and So." Tom smiled and said he did know him and so then the shy man hesitated and asked "I thought so - didn't he marry your sister?" Tom then smiled and said "no - I don't have a sister" and the shy man turned beet red and you could tell he was embarrassed and uncomfortable - but then instead of shunning the shy man or making him feel dumb for asking, Tom calmly said "don't worry, he didn't marry my brother either" - we all started laughing as we continued to walk & talk with him and his caddie up to the green. I know it's not actually that funny of a story, but to have a pro golfer (who was tired & working hard the night before a MAJOR) geniunely try to make a guy feel better after asking a somewhat foolish question was really cool to see.
    • My final experience of seeing Tom on the course was awesome and it literally gave both me and my wife chills. We arrived late to the Sunday round and we were making our way to the 18th green when who else, but Tom Lehman was hitting his final approach shot on 18. The enormous crowd was giving Tom a standing O well before he made it up to the green, but as he got closer he raised up his driver that had a U of M Gopher head cover on it and blew some kisses into the grandstands - the crowd went absolutely nuts - some people in the crowd even started chanting the Minnesota fight song and it was an indescribable experience that left Tom teary eyed (to say the least) and everyone else with a huge smile on their face.
    I'm sure it's hard to imagine the actual experience if you weren't there and I'm sure my experiences weren't as "cool" as some others, but I really enjoyed them and thought I would share them with any golf fans.

    Did anyone else attend the tourney or have some stories/experiences to share? Man, I love golf!!

    Jonecy


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    Re: PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    Cool, thanks for sharing.



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    Re: PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    Thanks for the story!

    I have a question...why were there so few serious challengers for the championship? If you look down the finisher list, so many "big names" were way off the pace. Only 4 players within 5 shots of the winning score. It seems very odd.


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    Re: PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    That's a really cool story. I went to the practice rounds of The Masters this year and there was a designated autograph area, you weren't allowed to ask for autographs anywhere else. Only kids were in there so I didn't even feel comfortable going.



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    Re: PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    Phil Mickelson is the same way during the FBR in Phoenix (ASU grad). Fans really get behind him and he is smiling the whole way.


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    Re: PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by jbhtexas View Post
    Thanks for the story!

    I have a question...why were there so few serious challengers for the championship? If you look down the finisher list, so many "big names" were way off the pace. Only 4 players within 5 shots of the winning score. It seems very odd.
    Good question - it was an interesting week overall and I personally think there were a lot of challengers for the championship, it just ended up being Yang (a non-household name w/ only 1 PGA victory) who won it b/c he's the only one who really held it together on Sunday.

    A lot of people were surprised by Phil being kind of a mess all week (especially w/ the putter), but he obviously hasn't been as dedicated to playing b/c of his family issues and only played 1 practice round on Wed the week of the tourney and pretty much everyone else played 2 or 3. To put that into perspective a little bit, Tiger won the Firestone tourney the previous Sunday and was out on his practice round the next morning (Mon.) on Hazeltine @ 6:45 am - now that's dedication.

    During the tournament, you heard a lot of the players say that the course was playing very long & tough, but fair - and I agree with that b/c it wasn't like "all of the field really struggled" or "all of the field really killed it" out there. Some guys had good days and some guys had bad days, but overall the field was pretty close. In the end, it came down to who was most consistent and who could make putts on those greens and that's why Tiger lost and Y.E. Yang won. The tourney really did come down to the wire unlike the 3 stroke win leaderboard shows.

    Overall, I thought it was pretty cool to see Tiger in "human" form (not making every putt) b/c it's been much more rare to see him lose a Major with the lead then to keep it.


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    Re: PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by 1100011CS View Post
    That's a really cool story. I went to the practice rounds of The Masters this year and there was a designated autograph area, you weren't allowed to ask for autographs anywhere else. Only kids were in there so I didn't even feel comfortable going.
    Interesting - yeah, for the PGA, the players were all pretty accessible (except for Tiger & Phil pretty much) and were even giving autographs out on their practice rounds.

    I hung out by the clubhouse on Tuesday night until most people went home and ended up getting a lot of autographs w/ the notable one's being Furyk, Els, Vijay, Adam Scott, Brian Gay and the Quiros guy from Spain who hit the 389 year drive - that guy can really launch the ball!


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    Re: PGA Championship & Tom Lehman (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by shildreth View Post
    Phil Mickelson is the same way during the FBR in Phoenix (ASU grad). Fans really get behind him and he is smiling the whole way.
    I'm sure it is crazy at the FBR for Phil, but then again, where isn't it crazy for Phil! Even though he struggled all week, he really did keep a smile on his face and was very courteous to pretty much everyone. I had a great opportunity to get an autograph from him on Wednesday night b/c I was in the right place at the right time, but as I was approaching him 4-5 kids started running over and I stepped out of their way b/c I didn't want to be that "older guy" who ruined a kids chance to get Phil's autograph. :) After all, they are just signatures......cool to have, but just signatures.


    - 的知 not a spin my wheels type of guy." - Coach Paul Rhoads

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