While the cameras captured errant shots and up-close putts up and folks at home might remember the trophy ceremony, those actually out on the course during the 110th U.S. Open were privy to memories of actually seeing the pros play in person at what’s been described as “the greatest meeting of land and sea.”
“Just seeing Tiger and Koepka walk up to the first tee – just hearing the crowd and feeling the excitement makes it great being here,” said Fernando Gutierrez who was there with his wife Linda Lloyd. The twosome’s favorite moment was watching the excitement of one little boy who climbed a tree to get a better angle of Woods.
Fans who attended Monday’s practice rounds during picture perfect 80-degree weather were able to get up close and personal with their favorite player. And in the case of many that meant seeing Tiger Woods.
“It doesn’t matter what your handicap is, in order to be great you have to align yourself with the great,” said Donnie Royal, 45, a biotech professional from Sacramento. “I want to see Tiger in real time.”
Royal’s friend Travis Nelson, 44, was also hoping to spot Woods, Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy, especially after McIlroy won this last weekend’s Canadian Open.
“I came to enjoy the environment and to learn about this golf experience,” said the more subdued Nelson. “I also would like to see Dustin Johnson hit one of his 345 yard drives he’s accustomed to doing.”
In the case of Woods, he won his fifth Masters Tournament in April and is at Pebble Beach competitively for the first time since he finished tied for 15th in the 2012 AT&T Pro-Am.
For Hans Feutel, a cancer survivor, it was a bucket list item to come to Pebble Beach – one that he was incredibly grateful for. A year prior, Feutel almost didn’t survive a battle with cancer but a stem cell transplant was the reason he was on his feet at the Open.
“After watching this place after 50 years to actually be here strikes me the most,” said Feutel, who was accompanied by his wife Eve. “It’s the place itself.”
Earlier in the week on Monday Carmel Mayor Dave Potter and wife Janine Chicourrat, general manager of the Portola Hotel and Spa, like most out on the iconic course, wanted to simply take advantage of the warm weather and the close-up views.
“It’s a beautiful day and you can get up close and personal without having to fight the crowds,” said Potter. The two would later be joining those on a small yacht parked in Stillwater Cove.
Other moments from the U.S. Open week – not necessarily “favorite ones” – included a runaway golf cart that sent two people to the hospital, an angry Patrick Reed snapping his wedge and the normally loquacious, but amiable Jordan Spieth, overheard on camera chastising his caddie Michael Greller.
While Spieth’s grilling of Greller happened Thursday, it was on Friday that five people were injured when a vendor, who parked a cart near the 16th hole, was walking away when a box fell onto the gas pedal causing the cart to accelerate. It ended up colliding into four spectators (and the vendor). Two of the victims were transported to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
“It’s grandpa’s birthday and a gift to my 16-year old son,” said Neil Nash, 55 about why he, his son Graham and father-in-law Tom Smith, 81 were there.
“It’s just to be at Pebble Beach … I know that’s a large scale umbrella kind of view,’ said Bryan Hillman who was from Portland and with fellow-Oregonian Scott Hunsdon. Hillman noted how enjoyable it was on Saturday to just sit out on No. 7 and watch the final group come through.
“The memory is really how beautiful it is here and being able to talk to friends about being here when I get back home,” he said.
“So it’s just such an enjoyable thing to be at Pebble Beach,” said 79-year old volunteer Ed Lambing, while conversing with Doug Ward, 61, and Steve Curry, 62 who were watching pro Patrick Reed practice putting on the 16th hole.
Ward was there to “watch more golf” than he otherwise would be able to see on the actual tournament days before heading down to Paso Robles to play golf himself. That’s while Curry, in awe of the very rare warm temps, was there to see Woods.
“This is amazing,” said Curry, noting the lack of wind or other weather effects on the players. “It’s like an Indian Summer day in October.”
Besides Woods, the fabulous weather early on seemed to be a highlight for most on the course Monday while temperatures cooled by as much as 40 degrees by the end of the week.
If you are looking for Pebble Beach real estate, here are some links that will interest you: