Players meeting, media MVP, family at TPC Sawgrass | Rogers Report
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Hello friends, and happy Tuesday from the Players Championship! I’ve had a wonderful day so far in Ponte Vedra. I arrived to the media center and grabbed a quick breakfast before attending Rory McIlroy’s press conference, and then I stayed put while Jon Rahm and Jay Monahan spoke. After that, I got an iced vanilla latte from the media center cafeteria and headed out to the course with my colleagues (and close personal friends) Dylan, James and Darren.
Thanks to my job, I’ve avoided most of Boston’s freezing winter by being on the road so much. Folks, I definitely recommend working in golf.
My first observation upon heading out to the course: kids are everywhere! We were severely lacking in Very Young People (read: future of the game) at the WM Phoenix Open, which made sense because the WMPO is basically a frat party that just happens to be at a golf course. There were some little kids at the Genesis over the weekend, but nothing like what I saw on Tuesday at the Players, where a few dozen kids were waiting for autographs by the 18th green today. I’m talking ages 11 and under. It’s also important to note that spring break season has just begun for college students, so there were plenty of people in their late teens and early twenties strolling the property as well.
Most kids requested gloves or golf balls, but the best thing I saw in the autograph zone was the couple of boys who took their sneakers off to have Gary Woodland sign each shoe.
Check out the kid standing in his socks! None of the sneakers Gary signed were Pumas, but I’m sure his sponsors will understand.
The man of the media center
To know golf media is to know Steve DiMeglio. I’ve only been attending PGA Tour events for the last 18 months, but DiMeglio is the bonafide captain of the PGA Tour media center. He knows everyone, everyone knows him, and he’s quick to notice when a transcript is taking too long to be uploaded to the PGA Tour media website. DiMeglio has been fighting cancer since last summer and made his first tournament appearance since The Open today at TPC Sawgrass. Media members and players were all equally excited to see him.
Players sent their well wishes to DiMeglio in the fall, but it wasn’t until today that they had the chance to see him in person again.
DiMeglio sat front and center as players rolled in for their press conferences at TPC Sawgrass on Tuesday. Just before Rory McIlroy‘s presser began this morning, he spotted DiMeglio and completely lit up. The same thing happened when Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele came by the podium a few minutes later.
The media center’s wifi password this week is an ode to DiMeglio, as well.
Luckily, we’ve had no problems with the internet connection so far.
A sweet family moment
I’ve given a lot of love to toddlers of the Tour over the last few days, but I witnessed an unbelievably wholesome scene with Cameron Young this afternoon that I need to share.
Cameron Young met up with his wife and two children by the 18th green at TPC Sawgrass on Tuesday. Just after finishing his practice round, Young scooped his youngest child and placed his hat on their head, while his older child ran up and down a hill with two of his golf clubs in hand like a pair of oversized ski poles. The older baby clearly didn’t want to let go of his dad’s clubs, but they were definitely impeding on his ability to move freely, which was adorable to watch. It’s also funny to think about how Tour toddlers (a new phrase I’ve coined — patent coming soon) get a free pass in terms of being gentle with the best golf equipment in the industry. I was definitely not allowed to touch my parents’ work laptops as a kid, but I’m glad to see that the pros are a little laxer when it comes to their kids and work stuff.
The player meeting
Today I learned that when it comes to early morning meetings, it doesn’t matter if you’re a college student or a PGA Tour player. Even if the topic of the meeting interests you, it’s difficult to make a 7:30 a.m. starting time when it’s optional. Especially when you have kids. I had squash practice at 6 a.m. in the dead of winter as a high school student, and I’d be lying if I said my attendance was perfect. And that was supposed to be mandatory! So while Rory McIlroy said the turnout was good at the meeting, I don’t totally blame the guys who didn’t show up. Here’s what the pros had to say about it today:
Jon Rahm: “I wasn’t at the player meeting … Listen, when they told me it was at 7:30, and I didn’t really have anything else to do until 10:00, I was going to take my time to be with my kids in the morning. I wasn’t sleeping; I was playing with my kids.”
Max Homa: “I did not [attend]. I wanted to and then my kid, Cam, had a — I’ll save you guys the details, but I was a little late. (Laughing.)”
Justin Thomas also did not attend, but I think I was most surprised to learn that James Hahn, who has been extremely outspoken about the Tour’s recent changes, did not attend either.
Interesting! His absence was very much noticed. But then again, it’s very possible Hahn was in dad-mode and not pro golfer-mode in the early hours of the day.
A photo that I adore
Attention: if you aren’t already following Trevor Immelman on Twitter, you need to fix that right now. Anyways, Gary Player shared an awesome photo with Trevor from way back when, and it is just so wholesome.
I need someone much smarter than me to run the numbers on the odds of a random kid taking a photo with a pro later becoming a Masters champion. I’m willing to bet they’re pretty slim. This is the JV-version of that photo of Tiger getting Sam Snead’s autograph as a kid, and I’m a big fan of it. My only request is that Immelman and Player recreate this image at the Champions Dinner at Augusta next month, green jackets and all.
Full Swing season 2
Done with Full Swing on Netflix and wishing you had spread out the episodes more so you’d have something to look forward to? Same here. Luckily, Netflix announced that a second season is in the works. I’ll probably binge-watch those episodes too, but it’s nice to have more golf on Netflix to look forward to.
Speaking of Full Swing, I had a few players and caddies approach me today to tell me they like my sister’s work. As an older sister, I’m proud of her, but as the one who works in golf, I cannot help but shake my head just a little bit. Ellen took notes on every episode of Full Swing, which I shared on Twitter. I didn’t realize the guys inside the ropes were following along as well.
Worry not, my friends. Ellen’s agent (better known as “Ellen”) was able to confirm that she is excited for Full Swing season 2 and looking forward to doing more recaps via her notes app.