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With all due respect to the great city of Chicago, I’m fresh off the best business trip of my life. I’m going to attempt to write this recap post in a way that doesn’t come off as a major flex. We’re not obligated to recap the trip or anything, but there were so many great moments that I think I can offer some curtain-back commentary that most of you will enjoy.
The PLAYERS Championship is a big deal.
I knew that going in, but I was unprepared for how big of a deal the tournament is to the Jacksonville area. It takes over the city for nearly the entire week, and if you’re with a group of young-ish dudes wearing golf polos, every Uber driver will ask if you’re a professional golfer. Some of that is tongue in cheek, but a few times they were serious, and for that I thank them. Let me tell you, nothing goes over better than kicking off a 20-minute ride with a well-placed dad joke.
Driver: “You guys golfers?”
Asshole (me): “Heh, we try to be!”
Crushed. Shoutout to the Uber drivers in Jacksonville, though. They’ll hit you with every relevant fact about the town whether you want to hear it or not.
I was almost kicked out of the Military Appreciation Concert by an overzealous volunteer.
Jacksonville boasts the third largest military population in the country. Each year, the tournament puts on a military appreciation concert that we were lucky enough to have access to. Great event. We had multiple locals tell us that it’s a top-five night of the year. Naturally, my bad boy demeanor almost torpedoed the whole night within minutes of our arrival.
I’ll give you the short version: Luke Combs, noted up and comer in the country music circuit, was playing on 17, TPC Sawgrass’s signature hole. The place was pretty packed. If you’re a high school or college kid within an hour of Jacksonville, this was your Super Bowl. Rope hats with thick shag underneath, ankle socks, Vans, Ultra-Boosts, Juuls, etc. So we grabbed a beer and walked over to 17 just as God Bless America was kicking off. Great song. Some say it should be our national anthem, but I’m fine with it just being a hell of a tune. Because we support the troops as well as America, we stopped to acknowledge Irving Berlin’s masterpiece. Seemed like the move.
As I stood there, hat off in preparation for the Star Spangled Banner which would follow, I was approached by an older volunteer who had me slotted as a potential shit-starter. We’ll call her Nancy because that was her name.
“Sir, I need you to move from this walkway,” she shouted, completely ignoring the other 30 people also paying homage to this great land. Keep in mind it’s Tuesday night, and I’m on beer one (1). I looked at her, gave her a smile and took a step or two near the railing that overlooked 17. Then I hear, “Sir, if you do not remove yourself from the walkway you’ll be asked to leave.” At this point, I’m irritated because she’s ruining a great moment and potentially the flyover that will have the entire crowd rock hard. I gave her another smile, this one potentially a bit more wry, and took about five steps over where another group was standing on the guardrail. Again, seemed like the move. Well, the next thing I know I’m talking to a police officer who’s attempting to mediate the conflict. Shout out to that guy. He let me stand there until the anthem was over and was clearly put-off that his valuable time was wasted by the volunteer. Congratulations, Nancy. You lost.
As for the flyover, the jets were about 45 seconds late, but it ended up being way more gnarly because it caught everyone off guard. The tower was buzzed.
The Promposal Moment
Tuesday night was one of the best. After the Luke Combs show, we hit Graeme McDowell’s restaurant, Nona Blue, which was stocked full of Tour Pros. It was there I learned that Beau Hossler and Dillon have been internet friends for a few years and that DJ’s brother looks exactly like DJ. Am I the only person who didn’t know those things? From there we hit a brewery called The Green Room to meet #Chad from Callaway and the No Laying Up guys. Great night. Always good seeing our boy Chad, and everyone from NLU was very chill. Brandel Chamblee showed up as we were leaving, which is unfortunate because I had a few TrackMan takes I wanted to bounce off of him.
As we piled into our Uber, I checked a Snap and saw this wonderful piece of content pop up:
I’m still cracking up about this. We were howling the whole ride home as we read it out loud. That driver definitely hated us.
50 Year Storm (Surfing)
It turns out surfing is great. Major love to Jax Surf Camp, Conner, and Hector for showing us what it means to catch a party wave. I mean, we threw out a few yard sales, but it was still bombs out the back most of the morning. I didn’t get to see much of the other boys, but I think the upcoming video evidence will show the whole crew riding sweet little biscuits to shore. Shred Cruz is back.
Dan almost killed a guy.
Danny Regs did the absolute MOST this week. Video guy, producer, hugger of Blake Bortles, and he even allegedly stepped in to host a possibly yet-to-be-released Touching Base recorded after our bar crawl when Dillon went to bed. His highlight, though, without a doubt was on the replica 17th green:
I’m aware that this video is much funnier if you know who Dan is, but it’s still one of my favorite moments of the trip. You see, Dan had just chunked his first pitch into the water. Anyone who knows Dan knows that he’s not leaving it short twice in a row. This story was ending one way. That’s why I pulled my phone out. I didn’t even notice the dude in the back until Dan already Donkey-Konged a three-quarter sand wedge 20 feet over the green. Hate to say it, but he shouldn’t have been standing there.
Most golfers are just like us only they have more money and more skill.
Did Kelly Kraft and Kevin Tway become official associates of Touching Base? Because it sure looks like it. Touching Base is now a Team #Gainz podcast. This was one of the more beautifully chaotic podcasts we’ve ever done. The surprise appearance from my dude KT was electric.
There will be video this dropping this week, but we got a few minutes with multiple guys who were playing the tournament for the first time. Other than the fact that I learned that most Tour pros aren’t down for Limp Bizkit bits, I think it went very well. Dechambeau was a content BEAST.
Unlike the rest of the group, I had actually seen the Big Cat fire the glutes in a professional tournament. But that was waaaaay back in the day when he still played the Nelson and Colonial. Seeing him now is a completely different animal, and you shouldn’t need a refresher as to why that’s the case. You just want to see that kind of greatness in the flesh. When we saw him, he was at least 8 strokes off the lead, but the air was as electric as I’ve seen in a golf tournament. Just watching him walk to a tee box made me feel alive again.
When she got that wagon on her. pic.twitter.com/eFmOoAfytF
— Touching Base (@TouchingBasePGP) May 11, 2018
We joke, but Tiger was definitely making an effort to acknowledge fans. It could be because he felt the need to keep up with Phil and Rickie, two of the most fan-friendly guys on Tour, but I’ll just assume it’s part of a new outlook on life and the game. Side note: I almost missed Tiger because I was so in awe of Phil’s button-down. I have so many questions.
The Bar Crawl
I had no clue what the turnout would be this time around, but once again, Touch Nation showed out. We met a ton of readers and listeners at Hoptinger (the brats were fire) then dragged them over to Surfer for the 18 and up dance party that I’m confident they weren’t looking for. And to the handful who made it to Lynch’s with us, we salute you. Great bar, but I can see how things can spiral out of control very quickly there. Hell, Dan disappeared for like an hour and I don’t think most of the crew even noticed. Props to Intern Klein for having to explain to everyone that he wasn’t really an intern.
Jokes aside, it still blows my mind that people want to meet us. You guys are the best.
Unfortunately, we were not able to film a “Body Surfin’ with Blake” segment, but we got the next best thing: him throwing the tits off of a football. We knew he was a good dude from his many PMT appearances, but when he hugged Dan after seeing his UCF National Champions shirt, we knew we too would get some great content out of him.
Blake Bortles (@BBortles5) sets the record straight on what happened when an 18-year-old tried to steal his truck.
— Touching Base (@TouchingBasePGP) May 14, 2018
Is Publix actually trash?
We finally got our hands on some Publix subs AND the results might shock you. Video coming soon.
All in all, we were probably 11 or 12 under on the week. We went very low. Thank you so much to the real MVPs at the Tour: Michelle, Mattie Lou, Madison, Preston, Reimer, and Matt. Will we be inside the ropes next year? Will bottle service happen? Only time will tell….
Listen to all three of our Ponte Vedra Podcasts here.