There is an art to being a spectator at a golf tournament.
You need to bring adequate clothing to be outside all day, including a hat, sunscreen, sturdy footwear, binoculars and an umbrella in case you get caught in a downpour.
You also need an understanding of the proper decorum, such as applauding well-played shots, being quiet as a player takes a shot, no running and forgetting about yelling goofy sayings.
Sound organization and thought can also save you a lot of unnecessary walking, improve the opportunity to see shots played and follow the scoring results.
As always, pre-planning can really make a big difference.
Long before you leave home, you should try to study the course layout via the internet. You can also access the pairings sheet in advance.
At some courses, there is a choice of parking lots and you can determine who you want to watch, the most strategic viewing sites, location of scoreboards, proximity to the driving range and the approximate times to locate yourself in which area.
The worst day to see the tournament is Sunday.
Too many people will be trying to watch the final groups and you will walk a long way to see little. The best days are Tuesday for practice rounds, Wednesday for the pro-am, Thursday and Friday.
So get out of bed and arrive at the course by 8 a.m. both days. You will see the most, park the easiest, avoid the baking hot sun, avoid the big crowds and watch the weekend play from your easy chair having already seen the holes earlier in the tournament.
Over the years, several name players attracted most of the attention such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. In fact, during the ‘60s when Arnie was the grand poobah you would often hear people question who he was playing with that day.
The tragedy in this thinking is that the masses only wanted to watch Arnie or later on, Tiger. They missed out on the skilled displays of the other players.
In the 1930s and ‘40s, they might have watched the Big Three of BenHogan, Sam Snead and Byron Nelson but they missed Jimmy Demaret, Lloyd Mangrum, Cary Middlecoff, Tommy Bolt and Jackie Burke.
Can you imagine that Hogan said, “Demaret hit the finest wind shots of all time.” He also greatly admired Bolt’s ability, but people were buying a hot dog when these guys came through.
In the 1970’s The Big Three became Arnie, Jack and Gary Player and the mobs flooded after them. In their wake were Johnny Miller, Billy Casper, Ray Floyd and Lee Trevino.
Casper is the most underrated player ever, Miller went on runs never equaled, Floyd was ferocious and Trevino should have made it the Big Four.
Following the last Big Three, all there was to watch were the performances of Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Nick Price, Greg Norman and Hale Irwin. whose accomplishments, along with others, will provide you with an unending supply of intrigue to this day.
So the next time you attend a tour event, go on Thursday and/or Friday, pre-plan your outing and forget the hot dog when someone other than the marquee guys are hitting.