- Stood at the ropes between holes a few times and watched Tiger, Phil and Geoff Ogilvy walk past the crowd. It was a quick glimpse into the mindset of all three golfers. Woods, stoic and focused -- never turning his head as the fans chanted and clapped. Mickelson bounding along in his familiar stride, smiling, waving and giving the Phil fans the "thumbs-up." Ogilvy, the US Open champ, trailing behind the superstars and seeming to know his place in the threesome. One time, he even tried to hand off his golf ball as a souvenir to a young fan, and had to jam it into the kids palm because the youngster wasn’t paying attention. Like everyone else, the kid was busy watching Tiger and Phil.
- Easy in, easy out. Several shuttle services were set up to get golf fans to and from the course without the Chicago traffic headache. Free parking at Arlington Park -- free bus ride on a comfortable coach. The only way to travel.
- Some may think if they don’t have a grounds pass in hand for a major by the time the event takes place, there’s no way to get on the course. False! Fans at Medinah could walk up and purchase a pass the day of each event. No spectators will be turned away, they say. The feeling is with so much golf course, and fans coming in and out throughout the long days, every ticket sold wouldn’t be on the grounds all at the same time, so if you’ve got the cash ($100 for Day 1 or 2, $115 on Saturday, $125 for the final round) come on in!
- Just a minor thing, but at $100 a pop, and a request that spectators display their pass at all times, couldn’t the PGA pop for the plastic lanyard to wear around your neck? I mean, some sponsor could even spring for these and get some free pub displayed on every single patron. Instead, the PGA wants you to buy one for $6. Pass.
- During the Tiger and Phil viewing show, I noticed the two wives chatting it up just over my shoulder. Amy Mickelson was telling Elin Woods that she doesn’t play golf and has maybe played nine holes with her husband twice in her life. Amy went on to discuss her daughter’s displeasure for running in soccer practice. Tiger’s wife did a lot of nodding, but handled a Tiger fan quite well when he dashed up behind her to show off his TW tattoo on his arm. Instead of freaking out, or waving someone from security over to tackle the guy, Elin smiled, nodded and said "Nice. I don’t even have one like that." Of course, that got me wondering which ones she DOES have.
- Beer didn’t seem to be a big seller on the course. You could grab up a Bloody Mary or mimosa along the way, but the suds didn’t seem to flow with this crowd. Those big smelly cigars were puffing away throughout the day. Maybe a nice snifter of brandy would have been more enticing with those stogies.
- Once the three-headed entourage of Woods, Mickelson and Ogilvy passed a hole, it was almost eerie to see the sparse gallery on hand for the golfers pulling up the rear. One of the final groups trailing behind the swarm had just eight fans watching them tee off. From a viewing standpoint, round two on Friday turned out to be a quality call. An on-again, off-again rain chased away a few fans, but it was handy to get to and from each hole to check out your favorites. Even catching up-close glimpses of Tiger and Phil was possible without much jockeying for position.
- Madison’s Jerry Kelly had his Wisconsin followers, following him. Kelly is always entertaining simply because "you never know when he may throw a club," as my friend mentioned before a Kelly fairway shot. When he parred the hole, but could have carded a birdie with a better approach, Kelly picked up his ball and knocked it over his forehead like he was cracking an egg.
- Whistling Straits garb was scattered throughout the course. Nice to see ... makes you proud to see the home state well represented in Illinois. And Wisconsin fans were buzzing about Steve Stricker’s second round of five-under 67, putting him in contention after 36 holes.
- Security -- Hordes of deputies surrounded the Woods-Michelson-Ogilvy group, but other than that, there did not seem to be much of a presence. Fans were told they would be "frisked" upon entering, but in reality, security simply asked if you had any electronic devices. If you said "Yes" they had an area where you could check your stuff (phones, PDAs, etc). If you said "No," no one bothered to check you.
- Maybe it was because this was a "major" or maybe it was because this was Chicago but the crowd was much more ethnically diverse than you see at the GMO / US Bank Championship events. There were dozens of African-Americans following the Woods group, and that simply is not something you see at the Milwaukee tournament. I also don’t remember seeing a large turnout at Whistling Straits in 2004, so maybe it was more of a Chicago thing than anything else. Whatever the reason, it was great to see.
Bob currently does play-by-play at Time Warner Cable Sports 32, calling Wisconsin Timber Rattlers games in Appleton as well as the area high school football and basketball scene. During an earlier association with FS Wisconsin, his list of teams and duties have included the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and the WIAA State Championships.
During his life before cable, Bob spent seven seasons as a reporter and producer of "Preps Plus: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel High School Sports Show."
And the joke is, Bob has a golf shirt from all four Milwaukee television stations. Sad, but true: Bob has had sports and news anchor/reporter/producer stints at WTMJ, WISN, WDJT and WITI.
His first duty out of college (UW-Oshkosh) was radio and TV work in Eau Claire. Bob spent nearly a decade at WEAU-TV as a sports director and reporter.
You may have heard Bob's pipes around town as well. He has done play-by-play for the Milwaukee Mustangs, Milwaukee Iron, and UW-Milwaukee men's and women's basketball. Bob was the public address announcer for five seasons for both the Marquette men and women's basketball squads. This season, you can catch the starting lineups of the UW-Milwaukee Panther men's games with Bob behind the mic.
A Brookfield Central graduate, Bob's love and passion for sports began at an early age, when paper football leagues, and Wiffle Ball All Star Games were all the rage in the neighborhood.