Day 3 began nicely. I arrived at the club early enough to catch captains Annika Sorenstam and Se Ri Pak tee off at the first hole. Before that I was videoing and photographing all the players at the driving range, so by the time I arrived at the hole there was a sizeable crowd in front of me. I could just about see the 2 players, in between heads and hats.
Sorenstam was clearly determined to beat Pak, who is also lesser-ranked. This is Sorenstam’s second last chance to win anything before retiring. By the first two holes she was 3-up as Pak overshot and missed the green, losing strokes. The mostly Asian crowd was rooting for Pak, cheering for her when she did well and groaning when she didn’t, and some looked disappointed when they saw Sorenstam winning. Pak made amends and by the 9th hole Sorenstam was just 1 up.
I was quietly rooting for Sorenstam. Later on I heard a Caucasian lady shouting her support in Swedish, but she and her lady friends were in the minority. I wondered if one day we would support players regardless of whether we shared the same race or nationality.
I followed Sorenstam and Pak all the way to the 9th hole and stopped to grab lunch. Then it was announced that play was suspended due to rain. I chatted with a nice couple I met the day before, and checked out the other hospitality tent that I was entitled to visit. I watched the TV coverage of the event and saw Taiwanese world no. 3 Yani Tseng make a beautiful chip off the green which rolled straight into the hole. We applauded appreciatively. By that time the drizzle had ended and I started to make my way back to my car.
Just outside the tent, I noticed a large crowd gathering around the players, who were coming out to resume their matches. Sorenstam was driven out on a buggy as with most of the remaining players. Then I noticed Natalie Gulbis waiting for her buggy. One girl came forward to get her autograph. Then others had the same idea. At first, being shy I thought maybe I’d just take a photograph of her (which I did):
Then I thought, go for it! There was a photograph of her in the programme, which she could autograph. I even brought a marker pen for this purpose. So I went forward and Gulbis signed my programme immediately. I said hi and thanked her. It happened so fast, then Gulbis was on her buggy and out of sight.
Woo hoo! I got Natalie Gulbis’ autograph!!!
It would have been perfect if I had gotten Sorenstam’s too, but better than nothing.
Overall, it was a great day, not as hot as yesterday and I took more photos and many more videos.
Read on only if you want to hear my rants about the etiquette of the audience… otherwise have a good Sunday!
As with yesterday, the crowd (mostly locals, other Asians and some Caucasians) was well-behaved. There were still a few beeping cameras and random people shuffling noisily and talking when they should be silent. However when they noticed the marshals raising their hands and when the rest of us turned to stare at them, most stopped moving or making the noise.
Once, I tried to take a silent video but the marshall near me thought I was going to take a (presumably noisy) photo, so he waved his ‘Silence’ sign and blocked my view. I obeyed by putting my camera down, but also pointed to another man near me who was taking photos with a beeping camera! The marshall waved his sign at the man who totally ignored him and continued shooting all the way. Talk about insult to injury… 😛
But the marshalls were simply doing their job. They assume that if you hold up what obviously looks like a camera, you would be taking photos, which could be noisy. Then I noticed that those holding up what looked obviously like video cameras did not run into the same trouble, because we know they aren’t noisy. So I figured out how to overcome my “PR” problem: I would hold the camera at a lower level with my left hand, to show I had no intention of pressing the trigger (which is usually done with the right hand). After that, none of the marshals mistook me for taking noisy photographs.
In terms of manners, the biggest culprit of the day to me was Singaporean parents. Once, the players were about to drive from another hole and the marshals called for total silence. An older man who was shuffling away with a clunky backpack stopped moving as a few of us turned around to look at him. We turned back to focus on Sorenstam and Pak. Then we heard a loud, clapping sound behind us.
Turning around again, I saw it was a little boy who didn’t seem to be accompanied by an adult. He had taken two paper fans and was slapping them together, not aware that silence was required. At that young age we cannot really blame the boy, but the question was, **where were his parents???** The nearest marshall made a very stern gesture at the boy, who seemed to notice but not understand. He continued to hop about, clapping away. Finally when the two players had made their drives and the audience started moving to the next stop, the mother emerged. She had been standing in the front row and (probably?) didn’t want to lose her place to take care of her kid. She was already holding on to an older kid.
For golf fans this is a fairly important event, covered on international sports channels. The very last thing we should be doing is give our country a bad name by showing we still haven’t mastered our manners yet.