Interesting Observations From The 18th Grandstand

Reader Charlie Bell posted this below on the thread about initial thoughts on Sunday's play but I wanted to highlight it as it helps explain a few things about the fan reaction, and about the comments of Walter Driver in the championship ceremony. Thanks for sharing your observations Charlie

Insider's observations from someone who was in the left-hand bleachers on 18 for the last two hours. The experience was FAR MORE BIZARRE for us than it was for the players.

1) Few if any of the 4-6000 spectators in the 18th hole bleachers - including me - knew THE RESULTS of the tournament until more than 6-7 minutes after Phil's final putt. This is incomprehensible, but it is the truth. Because of the blackout on radios, cells, etc. not a single person in the left-hand side bleachers (2-3000) knew that his shot to the bunker was his 3rd rather than his second. I certainly didn't. When he missed the chip, there was no major groan and when he made his putt there was little consoling applause. We were convinced that he'd merely bogied, there'd be a playoff, and it was a tie-is-like-kissing-your-sister feeling in the crowd.

At no time was any buzz other than that of "Are you coming to the playoff tomorrow?" When we saw the awards tables being placed on the green we concluded that the USGA was going to offer thanks to all, announce the low amateur (Though we didn't think any survived the cut - puzzling), and announce the starting time and logistics of the playoff.

Only after the 4th sound-check (I'm assuming there was time for a dozen commercials) did we see Ogilvy emerge from the clubhouse. We still didn't even imagine that Phil had double-bogied. Around that time, the final leaderboard was updated (or at least someone on our side of the bleachers read it) and we began to speculate on what might have happened.

Another couple of minutes passed and Phil appeared, and everything at last came into focus. Many people had left the 18th green only to learn the outcome, we're sure, as they walked back to the shuttle bus pick up point. Indeed, we ourselves didn't learn the details of the Champions' tent, the tree limb, and the failed cut-slices until half an hour after it was over, as we debriefed others while waiting for the bus.

So for us, not only was the USGA's "course setup" atrocious for the fans, but our experience was actually even more surreal than that of Monty, Geoff, and Phil. We were witnessing history - and had no idea of the present!

2) Walter Driver pointedly said the Furyk and Monty would not be there to receive runner-up recogition because they had left the premises. Perhaps we shouldn'd read too much into it (after all, they figured they'd finish 3rd) but it seemed like a too-hasty departure and definitely diminished the occasion.

3) The greens were horribly bumpy. The fairways looked smoother (and faster!) than the 1st green, which we walked upon on our way out. Even being slow on Sunday the contours made them treacherous. We watched the 9th hole for a long time, and saw putt after putt misread or mis-hit. To make a par required truly superior golf.