Rookie diary: Rained out at Sony Open
Friday, January 14, 2011
It’s the first PGA Tour event of my life and I am ready to go. . . the problem is Mother Nature is not on the same page. We are in a holding pattern here in beautiful Hawaii due to heavy rainstorms. We won’t be playing golf until Friday. The course was too saturated to be playable Thursday, so now we’re scheduled for a Friday start and 36 holes on Sunday. At least I am guaranteed to be playing on Saturday!
It’s funny to think that after all of the preparation that went into getting ready for my first PGA Tour event I will be teeing off after 2 1/2 days of no golf (Wednesday was rained out, too). It’s definitely not ideal, but I suppose everyone is in the same boat – no pun intended. If it keeps raining like this I will be headed off shortly to find two of every animal on the island.
I suppose that I am pretty used to this drill, seeing as how in years past my travels to play golf have involved far greater inconvenience than a trip from Florida to Hawaii, with a little rain standing in the way. I am especially excited to play on the PGA Tour this year given that during my prior four years as a professional I’ve played on the New England, Hooters, Nationwide, European and Challenge tours, and travelled to more than 35 countries to compete.
About Nate Smith
PGA Tour rookie Nate Smith will write a diary for Golfweek.com throughout the 2011 PGA Tour season. Smith will give you a detailed account of life both inside and outside the ropes on golf's grandest stage. Smith, a Duke grad from Soquel, Calif., is a unique player, having competed in more than 35 countries before earning his PGA Tour card.
I began my trip to the Sony from my new home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. I arrived in Oahu after brief stops in San Diego and Los Angeles. There was far less fanfare when I arrived than I’d expected. I thought this was the supposed to be the PGA Tour. . . where were the beautiful women with grass skirts and coconut bikinis, the limousine with the champagne on ice and how come nobody showed up to whisk my off to my press conference?
Unfortunately, the people at National Car Rental were the only ones who treated me like the true Emerald Executive that I am. So, despite my disappointment and the harsh realization that nobody cared I had arrived on the Island, I gathered my bags and headed to play an evening nine holes at Waialae. Some weeks I will stay in a hotel but this week I am sharing a house with fellow players Keegan Bradley, Chris Baryla, Jamie Lovemark and player manager Ben Walter.
Our house is right on the ocean, so our first stop was the store to pick up an array of spear guns, fishing poles, fins, snorkels, masks and bait. You never know when you are going to catch a Humuhumunukunukuapua (Hawaii state fish). We found a surfboard at the house so most of our free time has been spent on, in or around the ocean. Iron Chef Ben Walter has been cooking delicious and health-conscious meals for us each evening. It’s really nice to be able to relax in a chill environment as opposed to dealing with all of the “goings on” of the downtown area.
Yesterday during the rain delay I went to the movies to watch “The Fighter” with some golfers and caddies. What a great movie! It got me all pumped up to get out there and play some golf, but since that isn’t happening today we are headed to the North Shore to check out the surf. My “spiritual advisor”/college teammate Jake Grodzinsky has flown in from Maui to show me some of the local flavor of the Island – it’s always nice to have the local knowledge.
As far as the golf is concerned, it is very cool to see some of the players walking around that you have watched and respected for years, but that wears off pretty quickly when you realize you are here to beat them. Some of the new equipment that the companies have for us is exciting as well. I recently signed with Adams Golf and they have some great new products out. Scotty Cameron makes some cool custom headcovers for the players using his putters this week so my putter, “Black Magic,” has something new to keep her warm at night.
I am excited to do this blog and hope people enjoy reading about what rookie life is like on the PGA Tour. I can’t wait to see how my game measures up against the best in the world. Hopefully this will be more about golf and less about vacation from now on!
If anyone has any questions or feedback, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I will do my best to respond.
Thanks for reading and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year)!
Golfweek.com readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.