TPC Boston: Deutsche Bank Pro Am
Ever been really excited to head out to a golf event?
So excited that you set your alarm for 6:45 am, plan out which tees to stand to see your favorite players, and get your clothes set to go to appreciate the 82 degrees and sunny day that awaits tomorrow?
Only to wake up in a mess of fog, grey skies and drizzle?
Welcome to the Deutsche Bank Pro Am!
That was my day yesterday. Somehow 82 and sunny turned into 62 and rain, but seeing as there was nothing else for me to do at 6:45 am on a Thursday morning, I decided to grab my rain gear and head out to TPC Boston, after all the sun would break through eventually, right?
But, golf is a game that is played out in the elements, so the show must go on.
TPC Boston is actually in Norton, Massachusetts, about 25 miles south of Boston. A private club, it often pops up on lists like The Best Private Clubs in the US, and some consider it the best course (public or private) in Massachusetts.
The course itself was originally designed by The King himself, Arnold Palmer about a decade ago. And was recently updated by a local New England boy, Brad Faxon.
At over 7,200 yards it can be a bit of a monster, but it has held steady as the home of The Deutsche Bank Championship since its inception.
The Deutsche Bank Championship
As the second stop on the FedEx Cup tour, The Deutsche Bank Championship showcases the top 100 players on the tour and takes place the week after The Barclay’s, which this year was held at Liberty International just outside New York City.
What sets the DBC apart from some of the other events is it’s timing. Taking place over Labor Day Weekend, the tournament is actually a Thursday through Monday event, which is unusual when compared to the other tour counterparts.
At the end of the DBC the top 70 then advance on to the BMW Championship, this year at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.
This past week, after Tiger Woods tweaked his back at The Barclay’s there was a lot of commotion in the golf world wondering if he would play this week at The Deutsche Bank. The answer for many was an obvious yes, tied to the fact that Tiger’s own charitable arm, The Tiger Woods Foundation, actually runs the DBC. Would Tiger disappoint his sponsors, not likely.
The Deutsche Bank Pro Am
I chose to go to The Deutsche Bank Pro Am, first because I enjoy the more laid back atmosphere of the competition, and I like being able to really the see the golfers up close in casual mode and snap some pictures.
One thing about the way the DBC is set up is that it runs very smoothly. As with many events, there is a park and shuttle bus system, but the venues are less than a five minute ride apart. And, I never had to wait for a shuttle, in fact, on my way back to the parking lot, I was the only person on the bus!
The course itself is set up in two sections, with the the typical fan stuff centered around the middle of the entrance. There were the typical food stands, the merchandise tent, and a few vendors setting up. The Pro-Am was split into two main groups, the first would tee off from the 1st tee, at 6:50 am (Tiger’s group), and 12 pm. While the second group teed off at the same times from the 10th tee.
The 10th Tee: Tiger Arrives
I arrived around 8:30 so was able to take a bit of a wander around and park myself right at the 10th tee knowing that Tiger would be coming along soon. In the meantime I was able to catch local fan favorite Keegan Bradley teeing off at the 10th, and was pretty excited to see local hockey favorite Shawn Thornton in the same group.
After Keegs left, the whispers started growing that Tiger would be next, so I headed to the grandstands to park myself a good location for a photo. From the elevated height above the tee you could certainly tell Tiger was on the move. Even with the early time, the weekday, and the rain, he still had by far the largest following, and was accompanied by a number of security guards.
For a Pro-Am (of which I have attended a couple), the marshals were incredibly strict when it came to Tiger. No one could stand up to take a photo, take a photo of him in the tee box, or use their phones to take the photo. I managed to sneak one while the marshal was yelling at a guy next to me, however. 😉
The 9th Tee
After seeing Tiger, I headed back up the course to the 9th tee to see if I could get a better angle to take some pictures and catch guys like Webb Simpson, last years champion Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott.
The 9th tee box was a different world from the 10th. The ropes allowed us to be about 5 feet from the tee, and the marshals there were quite chatty and had no issues at all with people taking pictures. Here the pros also took the time to chat a bit with us, guys like Graham DeLaet were incredibly friendly, asking how everyone was doing, and thanking us for coming to the event.
I stayed at this tee for a while because of the great angles and the fact that there were about 5 of us total, a very different scene from the 10th tee.
From the 9th there were basically two choices, take a deep right and head way out to tees 11-18 or cut a quick left and have easy access to the 3rd and 8th. Since at this point, the drizzle had begun, I went left.
The 3rd Tee
I figured by now, it was after 11, I would be able to catch some of the morning group that started on the 10th tee coming back around to the early holes. So, I parked myself with a slightly larger crowd on the short 3rd tee and waited for the meat of the morning group which featured guys like Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson.
After attending a few of these pro-am events, you really start to get the sense of which guys are shy, which love chatting, and which thrive off the crowd. I’ve seen guys like Keegan Bradley, Graham DeLaet and Justin Rose eagerly chat with the crowd both before and after teeing off. While guys like Bubba sign all the autographs but not seem all that thrilled by it, and guys like Rickie, who seem really outgoing on his various videos appear to be very shy in person.
Sergio, when approaching the 3rd tee box, came right over and started signing everything for the crowd, took his shoot, and then signed some more.
Hunter Mahan followed after him, and did the same. Many were congratulating him on the recent birth of his first child, so he definitely perked up when thanking those fans.
As Rickie approached, the skies literally opened up and it really started to change from a light drizzle to a full on rain. Probably because of the rain, he didn’t sign for anyone, which got some grumbles from the crowd, except for two clear Rickie fans, both decked out in bright orange, who were defending him as someone who normally does sign.
After watching Rickie tee off, I started to head back to the main area to begin heading home. Once the rain started following more steadily, I was pretty much done for the day.
All in all, I still had a good time. Since this is the last big golf event in the area until next year, it was a little sad thinking my golf reporting season has come to an end, for now, at least. But am looking forward to attending all of these, and more when next year rolls around.
Have you been to The Deutsche Bank? Is it an even you’d like to learn more about?