I went. I was only able to carve out a couple of hours. But it was worth it. I don't think I will ever be able to look at golf the same. I went early, and it was not too crowded, at some holes, we were the only ones watching people tee off. The only big names we were aware of at that time were Bubba Watson, who was followed by a large gallery, and we gave up watching him pretty quickly due to that fact, though we did watch him tee off with an iron on a 450 or so par 4, and John Daley, but we didn't get to see his snowman he put up on 10.
What was amazing was watching these guys, the vast majority, I had never heard of, play at that level. We sat at the first green and watched people hit the most incredible approach shots, putting them down near the pin from a hundred yards out effortlessly, and you realized that the difference between winning and losing is so tiny, it is amazing that there are people who do it so much more than others. It seems like the people early in the day just were not great putters though, because the birdies we saw came from great approach shots, not long putts, like the guys you watch late Sunday afternoon seem to make.
The first guy I watched tee off, I think his name was Marino, I was watching the ball flight just awestruck, I was still gaping as the ball dropped when I realized that everybody had already clapped and finished clapping for a pretty good shot. I am not sure, I think people want to be the first to clap or something, Or they watch the swing. It seemed like a choice for me to watch the swing or watch the ball, not both.
Seeing the greens in person was a revelation too. I am used to playing greens that are either pretty flat, or the whole green is pitched in one direction. These greens looked like a still shot of ocean waves. I used to always be amazed when the announcers would call what the breaks were on what look on TV like the same flat greens I play. How could they know that? Or it must be some kind of incredible software they have with the greens mapped. In person, it became pretty obvious because because the breaks were so severe, you couldn't miss them. That doesn't mean that they were easy to putt though, quite the opposite. They announcers don't have to make the putt. It also made you appreciate how choosing hole positions affects the difficulty in a lot of ways besides trying to sucker a player into hitting into the water or something.
I went to the practice range, as you guys said, and watched Brendon de Jonge hit his driver, for example. I should have made it a point to keep my glasses extra clean because I would watch his drive, have a clear bead on the ball as it sailed until it just got too small to see and it disappeared. I guess if I were younger, I might have seen the whole ball flight.
Anyway, even though I have never indulged much aspiration for accomplishment in golf, it was humbling to watch. I will try to improve, obviously, because that is half the fun of golf, and why it is interesting, but I will also be content with my 180 to 220 yd drives, playing on a short course, 5800 yards, and maybe move up to the gold tees, because after watching these guys play, well, who am I kidding?