LOUISVILLE, Ky. – We’ve made it, folks. The Grill Room has officially arrived. We’ve been sent on assignment to cover our very first major; coincidence that it just so happens to be the one with the biggest trophy? … I think not. To commemorate this special occasion, I, Correspondent Crook, will be keeping a running diary, informing you of all the most important news and my relevant, and not-so relevant thoughts on it. Lucky you.
3:55 a.m. ET – First alarm goes off. I hit the snooze.
4:00 – Reluctantly, I roll out of bed. Yes, I’ve been excited about this opportunity for more than a month, but whose brilliant idea was it to leave at 5:25 a.m. and more importantly, whom do I owe a punch in the face to for making that decision? The tournament starts Thursday, correct? Just checking.
4:15 – My dog, my wife and I get in the car, and yes, in that order. My wife looks super excited; good thing we’re still in that honeymoon phase where she never, ever gets annoyed with the things I ask her to do … EVER. My dog, on the other hand, couldn’t be happier for the early morning drive.
5:27 – Boarding the flight. Wait a second … where the hell is Louisville? Before you say Kentucky, I know that much, but where the hell is Kentucky? I just know it’s in the central part of the U.S. and they play a lot of basketball there, right? This coming from a guy who occasionally gets lost on his way home. In my defense I’ve only lived at my house for a year. I’m aware I’m starting to sound like Channing Crowder. I do a quick Google Maps search. Only a 13 1/2-hour drive. I feel better.
5:45 – Signing off for now, whole plane is pitch black anyway, except for the tech-savvy grandma to my left who keeps checking for Facebook updates. Keep doing you, Grandma. All you would hear from me at this point would be complaints about air travel, which comes in a close runner-up to your fantasy football team in the category of “Things No One Ever Wants to Hear About.”
8:00 – Boarding my second flight after a layover in Atlanta. Don’t worry, you guys missed absolutely nothing. Hey, look, it’s one of my bosses in first class. He asks me where we’re going to dinner since I’m paying, it being my first major and all. I tell him CiCi’s Pizza. (You’re welcome for the free plug.) He laughs a disapproving-of-CiCi’s-Pizza laugh. You know the one.
9:01 – Alternating between sleeping and SkyMall, because if you have a chance to read about a $1,000 decorative suit of armor for your home (the one I sometimes get lost on my way to), you’re not going to pass that up.
9:05 – Not done reading. Take the SkyMall.
9:18 – Land in Louisville.
9:25 - Get off the plane, immediately snap a selfie with a Colonel Sanders statue.
10:31 – Arrive at Valhalla media center and check out the dining area.
10:32 – Realize lunch hasn’t been served yet because, you know, it’s 10:32.
11:34 - Walk past Rory McIlroy after his press conference. Rory McIlroy walks past me after his news conference. That's right, I said it. I'm kind of a big deal.
12:05 p.m. - Is this when they finally serve lunch around this joint? Didn't everyone get up at 4 this morning?
12:52 - Set out to get some interviews with kids for the Grill Room weekly show and to take some photos. Find out kids are shy and not great on camera. Correspondant Crook totally understands.
2:37 - Head back to the media center. Find out I have clearance for the players locker room, decide to stop in.
2:42 - Run into Colin Montgomerie in the bathroom. Well, not physically run into, we shimmied by each other managing to not make any contact. My grandfather from the other side of the pond is a big fan. Unsure of how impressed with this story he'll be, though.
3:13 - Found Jesus. He didn't save me right there on the spot, looked like he was in a bit of a rush to save someone else. Maybe next time.
4:01 - Made it back to the media center in time for the J.B. Holmes-Michael Block back-to-back pressers. #Winning.
4:45 - Research some around-the-town type of ideas for tomorrow that you won't want to miss. I don't want to give too much away, because I know all 658 (and counting) of our Grill Room Twitter followers are probably waiting with bated breath, but I could possibly visit Trip Advisor's fifth-ranked attraction in all of Louisville, and try something grotesquely named a "Hot Brown."
5:30 - Leave the media center to get ready for a party at the Louisville Slugger Museum tonight. And as they say in Louisville, what happens here, we'll tell you about tomorrow. So, when in Rome.