Dad and I are back in WNY after our trip to see Mike. We wish that we could have brought them some luck with making the cut, but here's hoping for good news from Valdosta. We enjoyed our time with Mike and Steve and learned a lot about what goes into this profession. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the course. Many thanks to Uncle Roger and Aunt Dorothy for their hospitality on the road back and to Matt for taking such good care of Ray while I was gone!
It's a sunny Friday morning here in Winder (rhymes with grinder -- still working on that pronunciation). Mike is over doing his prep work on the course, marking today's pin positions with his pal Don. We are beginning to appreciate all the behind-the scenes work that goes into these Nationwide Tour events. There are hundreds of people involved and long hours. Mike's days begin at dawn and usually don't end until late in the day. Steve is in a threesome with Trevor Dodds and Garrett Osborn. Dad and I followed their play for the back nine holes, after which Steve was two under par. Dad then sat out the front nine while I followed along as the lone gallery member. Dad might have been a good luck charm because it didn't go as well for Steve on the other nine. He finished three over par. Mike and Steve went off to get something to eat while Dad and I ate in the clubhouse. Before we were finished, Mike called to say that he was free for the rest of the day. So we had some unexpected "bonus" time with Mike, back at the hotel, where Dad quizzed Mike on the workings of the tour. After relaxing for a while, we headed out for dinner and then Mike went back to his hotel in Madison for some much needed rest. They tee off at 1:40 today and we are hoping for many birdies!
Dad and I arrived safely in Winder (rhymes with binder) last night after about 12 hours on the road. We had rain, fog, a little sun but an otherwise good journey south. Today we had breakfast at the hotel and set out to scope out directions to the golf course, which is about 20 miles from the hotel. We parked, got a shuttle down to the driving range to look around and, as we got out of the cart, who should be walking up the hill towards us, but Mike! (We could NOT have planned this if we wanted it to happen!) He was about to take a break so we had the chance to visit with him and watch the golfers on the range while he brought us up to date on his activities. We met some of the guys (Don, Gary, Aaron) that he has been working with as well. The Pro/Am was underway so Mike was hoping for a break in that in order to get his prep work done. Steve was still at his hotel, so we did not get a chance to see him. Dad and I then proceeded to the Georgia Botannical Gardens in Athens to spend some relaxing time wandering around the beautiful grounds. The dogwoods and azaelas are in bloom. On our way through Athens, we saw some frat/sorority houses that were huge, gorgeous mansions. Two houses even had girls in pastel ball gowns posing for photos on the front steps (think "Gone with the Wind" meets "Animal House"). Wonder what that was all about?! There are Georgia bulldogs everywhere. Dad even spotted one on a man's belt! As we finished up at the gardens, Mike phoned to say he had a break, so we met him at the Georgia Square Mall for more talk time. Right now, Dad and I are back at the hotel, relaxing. If Mike finishes his work early enough, we might meet him for dinner tonight. He seems happy, relaxed but focused on his job. Team Han goes off at 8:40 tomorrow morning.