MasterCard Classic 2005-Mexico City MX

My player this week is Jill McGill

Sunday: Seemed like it was going to be an ordinary flight out of Oahu but things got out of hand quickly. Apparently, the American Airlines check-in personnel failed to realize that our connecting flight out of L.A. was co-chaired with Mexicana Airlines and had a different flight number than the one American provided. As a result, about forty of us were stranded, with bags in hand, and being told our flight didn’t exist. The first rumor was that only passengers that booked with Campbell Travel had their flights affected. Then it was blamed on a hacker whom cancelled the flight. But thanks to an astute caddie, Louie Paolini, for pointing out the Mexicana connection to the American employees, the flight was found and we all got on in time.

The next surprise was by another caddie but in a very troubling way. Clay Triolo, AKA “Flipper”, apparently was so upset that he couldn’t buy a sandwich before boarding that he threatened to blow up the plane! This insensitive remark was surely made without thinking, but the word got around to the flight attendants and he was escorted off the aircraft. When they take someone off on aircraft they also need to remove his luggage so Flipper did not endear himself to his fellow travelers for the extended delay. Include was Joanne Morley whom he was to work for in Mexico. Somehow, Flip talked his way out of what could have been an ugly situation by convincing the authorities it was all a misunderstanding.  He did make it here and was consuming a few cervezas in the hotel bar not long ago.

Monday: Walked the course and it’s a brute! Hilliest mother I’ve ever seen. This one is made for carts and we’re going to pay the price. Carl, AKA “Machine”, has had knee problems in the past and wonders if he’ll be able to make it. The 7000+ ft of altitude is already taking it’s toll and we don’t have any trunks on our backs yet! We may be lucky losing Tucson on the schedule. Need a week to recover.

Tuesday: A five hour and forty-five minute practice round! AAARRRGH!!! 

This course is kicking our butts! There are a few cart rides to help us out but places exist that we just have to walk. I dubbed holes 6-9 “Amen Corner” cause amen will be the appropriate word when we leave the ninth green.

The elevation sure makes a difference in club selection along with the up and downhill figures. I opted for a clinometer and GPS this Winter knowing they may be useful on the extremely hill courses and picked up a laser to boot. Hope the outlay pays off.

The clinometer gives a percentage of uphill or downhill slope which translates almost perfectly to the distance the hole plays. In other words, if it shows 5% uphill from 200 yards it will play 210 yards. The GPS confirms the elevation change in feet which I convert to yards. Ten yards up will play just about that except for distances under 100 yards. Then it’s about half. It sounds confusing but worked out well in our practice round. But there are still two more factors to consider. The altitude and wind.

We figure 10% shorter for the altitude and if your down wind the ball may really take off. For example, our tee ball on the tenth hole was 11% downhill, with a 2 club downwind and of course we’re over 7000 feet. Throw in firm fairways and the ball finished over 320 yards off the tee! Sounds like it’s going to be a fun week.

It was evident some players are not aware how far the ball flies here. The second hole is a 175 downhill, par three which was also downwind. We hit a 6 iron but 7 should have been the stick but I heard one of the Korean rookies hit 5 wood. I don’t think they ever found that one!

Heard some very good news for the pro-am. Everyone will be on carts and there will be a maximum playing time of 4 hours 45 minutes. Whatever holes you have left just mark down pars and call it a day. Halleluiah! 

Wednesday: Best pro-am we ever played in. All carts, only 2 amateurs may tee off except on par 3’s, par is your friend, a time limit and mucho bueno comida (plenty of good food) between 9 and 10. Ole!

One of the guys was passed a counterfeit 50 peso bill (about 5 bucks) and couldn’t cash it. The ink ran and numbers were a different color. But who could tell?

Thursday: Jill gave me the day off so six of us opted for an excursion to the The ancient city of Teotihuacán. Michelle Estill, A .J. Eathorne, her caddie Ernie, Wilksie, Tat and myself.

An estimated 1 & 1/2  to 2 hour trip took only an hour but the driver, Francisco, wasted another 30 minutes trying to figure out where to drop us off. After he did, our guide Miguel started off with an explanation of the makings of Aztec artistry using obsidian. He followed with the amazing uses of the agave plant, including a form of writing paper, needle and thread and of course the making of the nectar of the gods, tequila. Naturally, there is a taste test of two different kinds along with the traditional salted limes. There we were, throwing back mini tequila shooters ready to hike the pyramids of Teotihuacán. The small portions though did not sap our enthusiasm. But a shopping spree at the gift shop full of Aztec reproductions needed to be completed before our adventure.

We started out at The Citadel and Temple of Quetzalcóatl and worked our way down the Avenue of the Dead to the Pyramid of the Moon. The trip would not have been complete without scaling one of the larger pyramids so the Pyramid of the Moon was our target. It wasn’t the tallest but gave the best view of the whole city. This one gave us all quite a workout especially the first set of steps. They were space a little too far apart and taxed our hamstrings. The last part was a free climb but had enough footholds to lesson the difficulty.

We finished with one last shopping trip on our way out for tee shirts, wall hangings and other trinkets. This reminds me. Vendors are hawking their wares throughout the complex and the two best lines were “Something for your mother-in-law?”, it was an axe, and “Almost free today”. The most popular for the kids was a bow and arrow set. They seemed to everywhere.

Another hour drive back and our day was complete. Great fun with an enjoyable group of compadres. 

We took plenty of pictures so look for them in the “What’s New?” in the coming weeks.

Friday: For the first time this week a slight weather change blew in the smog from the city. But as the day progressed the wind reversed and cleared the air. It would have been nasty walking these hills with lungs full of crud. It also helped to have 11 cart rides! At least that’s what I counted. May have missed one though.

Jill played fairly steady and sunk a few saving putts to finish even. That’s enough about golf.

Haven’t heard about any injuries due to the course but we’re not short of afflictions. Shaun Clews, loops for Hee-Won Han, needed a root canal done yesterday with the filling to be done when he gets home, Woody has bronchitis, Patricia Meunier- Lebouc chipped a tooth on an olive pit, Jamie Hullet withdrew due to illness and Lisa Kiggens, working for Dina Ammaccapane, might have a little of what Woody has. She had trouble breathing going up number one when they made the turn.

In the how to piss off the sponsor department; it has been rumored that Lorena Ochoa, the darling of Mexico, withdrew from the pro-am cause her brother was not chosen to be the tournament director. Apparently, his terms were too steep and he was by-passed. She was scheduled to play with all the head honchos but Annika agreed to switch teams to help smooth things over. It really doesn’t sound like Lorena but who knows?

Saturday: Played fairly steady but 3-jacked the last two holes to finish 4 over for the event. Jill was so ticked off and clueless as far as what the cut might be she wrote me a check when we finished. I had to remind her that the cut would probably be +6 and we would still be playing. That calmed her down a bit but she still had to verify my assumption with some other loopers.

Remember that 320 yard drive on number 10 we hit during the practice round? Well on the same hole today Jill cranked one out 355 yards! A yard short of going over the hill towards the creek. A good bit of it was roll but so what.

Yesterday was a first for Colin Cann of his 13 years on tour. Colin works for Paula Creamer and missed an errant toss of her 58° wedge after a poor shot. On the next hole Paula had a chip for birdie and asked Colin if the 58° was the correct choice. Looking in the bag he thought it would be if they had one! It still was laying in the rough on the last hole. She used her 52° instead and almost holed it. Luckily, her dad was there and was dispatched to retrieve the errant stick. Things like that happen every one in a while and it’s always good for a laugh if it doesn’t cost you shots.

  • Flipped out; Flipper is the type of guy that doesn’t know when to keep his trap shut especially when he’s been drinking. I went down to the lobby last evening just in time to see Bully applying a choke hold to Flipper’s neck in the hotel lounge as a result. As the story goes, Flipper was sitting with another caddie whom was having dinner and had to go to his room for a few minutes. He asked Flipper to tell the waitress he would be back to pay the bill. She agreed but became impatient and wanted Flip to pay the tab. Of course, with great obstinacy, Flipper paid up, slamming the money on the table and berating her. This verbal assault brought her to tears and was the last straw for Bully sitting close by. That’s when the melee broke out.

The MasterCard folks have been bending over backwards to satisfy our every need and it figures someone would screw it up!!!

Sunday: EL STINKO! That’s all I could say about today’s round. Our group was a total of +16 with Jill bringing up the rear. There were plenty of horror stories out there including the group of Estill, Bartholomew and Kane. They had 4 backward shots, a whiff, a shank and a 4 putt. The wind started blowing and ate us up and I’m sure a few bad swings had something to do with it also.

With yesterday’s field not finishing you had to estimate when your tee time was going to be and Lindsey Wright almost didn’t make it. She got off the bus with only 15 minutes to spare.

Looks like Montezuma had his revenge at the player hotel. Two that I know of, Cindy Rarick, barfing on the range and Beth Bader, out the other end all last night are examples. There were more all week which may cut the field when we head to Morelia. May be too many bad memories.

If you noticed the ? for my player for Phoenix it’s because Jill gave me the axe after last week. I have one in the pipeline but I hear there might be a few casualties after this week. So goes the “caddy life”. I’m flying back to Dallas tomorrow but unsure were I’ll sped the week. Just going to wing it.

The Flipper saga continues. It looks like he’ll get suspended for this week’s fiasco. I heard four other caddies turned him in and the rules officials are now involved. This one could really hurt his wallet if Nabisco is included in the time off.

Monday: The final Flipper update, I hope. Six weeks off was the penalty meted out for his behavior. Won’t be eligible to work till Atlanta. OUCH!

Got a good view of the city when we took off and the mile after mile of tightly packed Lego like hovels is simply amazing. The congestion on the ground and in your lungs was taxing. Glad to be back in the good ol’ USA.

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