Top Ten Things I Learned at the US Open

Originally published June 13, 2008

Last night at dinner, Tony's mom Pia, asked me "what was your favorite moment?" And I couldn't pick just one, the week is still too fresh in my mind (sad to think that it may not always be), the entire experience is lumped into one favorite moment. 

My Top Ten list (In no particular order (except 1 & 2))

10- I am not Mike Weir (I think I'm beating a dead horse with this one)
9 - A Lexus LS 460, would be nice to drive all the time (future sponsorship, hmmm)
8 - Spectators at the Open never stand still. (You had to be there)
7 - Signing autographs is pretty fun, (but signing balls and hats are a pain)
6 - Even walking through the rough at the US Open is tough (its like walking through sand)
5 - Sometimes bigger misses are better. (especially, when there are people to stop the ball from moving farther off line)
4 - When Tony says, "I love that play," reconsider (see #13 round 1, & #14 round 2)
3 - After a week in the Player Hospitality tent, Diana is contemplating a change in hair color (I'm not going any farther on this subject)
2 - Golf is not as important as life (perspective, always a good thing)
1 - I've got a ton of great people supporting me, I cannot thank you all enough

This has been an incredible experience, thank you all for reading, its been fun, and maybe I'll continue with tidbits about golf in the future, input welcome. Goodbye for now...

Round 2 Recap

Originally published June 13, 2008

The alarm rang at 6:15 am, and although still a little tired, I was still excited to get to the course and try it again. I knew that if I could muster some good shots I could put up a good score. But today wasn't my day on the course. hopefully I can avoid the nickname "bogey", because I made enough of them this week. I struggled with a little bit of everything, driver, approach shots, and the speed of the greens (some seemed fast others seemed slower), but I have learned a lot this week and will take mostly positive things from this experience. 80-82, not what I had expected, but Tony and I had fun, most of the time. The course is too tough to get away with as many bad shots as I hit. I had a first today, I hit my first spectator, thankfully she was ok, I got her on one bounce on the knee (I did sign a glove for her). However, it was a good break (from a golf perspective, I'm sure she felt the same way too), I had a good lie, a clear shot and ultimately made par. Although, I missed the cut, I will try and come up with something blog worthy tomorrow (apparently there are people reading, and expectations are getting higher).

On another note, Scott Campbell wrote a great article about Tony that appeared in the San Mateo Times today, the URL is below. Please check it out, it is a great story and something that will definitely keep everything in perspective. 

http://www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes/ci_9568443

1st Round Recap

Originally published June 12, 2008

No witty title tonight, sorry. Today was an interesting day to say the least. I made it on time to the tee at 2:42 pm Pacific, and conquered my first fear of the day, getting the ball airborne. Actually, I hit my first drive of the open right down the middle, then hooked my second shot of the day into the bleachers left of the green. Let the roller coaster begin. Actually, I used the bleachers to my advantage twice today, which was good because I am always the first to comment on that when I watch golf on TV. I made bogey at one (Tiger made double, but also shot 72, so I can't brag, shucks), and when all was said and done, 10 bogeys, a birdie (there was no shutout, apparently ESPN picked the birdie up) and shot 80. Overall, actually I'm a little disappointed, it should have been a couple of shots better. But I did learn a lot today that I will keep with me for a very long time. Despite the score, I am still excited to play tomorrow. Night...

Inhale...Exhale...Inhale...Exhale

Originally published June 12, 2008

Thats the theme for the day. Inhale....Its finally Thursday and because I tee off at 2:42 pm, I've got all sorts of time to kill until then. After a very very light breakfast, Diana and I walked around the hotel for a bit, checked out the pool, and basically tried not to think about anything golf related...Exhale. Inhale...I have been watching a little bit of the coverage on ESPN this morning, mostly to see where the hole locations are and I cannot wait to get out there and compete, finally...Exhale. 

Inhale...hopefully I'll have time to update tonight, but because I go PM Thursday, AM Friday, it's a quick turn around. Thanks again to everyone for their messages and texts, I apologize I cannot get back to everyone right away, but I will. Off to the course for a little lunch then into the usual pre-round routine...Exhale.

"Honey look, it's Mike Weir"

Originally published June 10, 2008

Or not. About once a week for the past several years I get this comment, "Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Mike Weir?" And by now I am used to this comment and kind of agree to a certain point, until you are playing in the same event. My entourage, (Turtle, Drama and "E", meaning Diana, Mom, Dad, and anyone else following who actually knows my name without looking at my golf bag or the standard bearer) noted that on countless occasions several random observers thought that I was Mike Weir, and after significant discussions with their friends, were convinced I was Mike Weir. But after hearing it enough, maybe I am Mike Weir, maybe I have a pretty severe (albeit, very cool) alternate personality. Most of the time I am just Garrett, from Millbrae, CA, golf professional, but I moonlight as a left handed major champion. All kidding aside, for the record, I am not Mike Weir. I am not Canadian (not that there is anything wrong with that), and I am right handed (not left handed), just a slight difference, eh.

Today was a busy day. Kevin Weeks, my instructor for the past seven months flew in this morning to help me prepare. Things went well, I made about 30 ten foot putts in a row, doing a drill, in front of about 300 people who were more interested in Tiger blowing his nose. I know where I fit into the big picture this week. We worked a lot on chipping out of the rough. And I hit balls on the range next to Ernie Els, yep he's really that big. We played the front nine by ourselves, which was nice because there were no distractions and we got to work on a lot of different things. After that, I rushed Kevin back to the airport just in time to catch his flight back to Chicago. It was great having him out there to bounce ideas off, and it was nice to meet some other people that he knows from hanging out on tour.

There are so many things this week that I did not anticipate happening, mainly signing autographs. Fortunately, after playing with Jim Furyk yesterday, I was able to watch him gracefully decline and offer his time later signing every last one, classy move. I just find it funny that people that have no clue on earth what my name is, ask me for autographs or pictures, most of them are for flags that have every other players signature, so my ego is staying in check. Now I understand that I am just playing a practice round, but considering the sheer number of people out there you cannot stop and sign autographs while you are playing, you'll never get away. But there are exceptions, for instance when there are just three little girls standing by the 9th tee box, with their mom and their hot pink baseball hats asking for an autograph, how can I say no? And good thing I didn't otherwise Diana probably wouldn't have spoken to me for the rest of the week. Until tomorrow, MW.

Tiger, What's the Rush??

Originally published June 9, 2008

Ok, I'm sorry, a blog is suppose to be updated more often than every other day. But I have a couple good tidbits for you all. Yesterday was junior day at the open, and subsequently there were hundreds of kids running everywhere. Yesterday was also the day my parents arrived. They met me on the putting green, well next to it anyway, to gather their passes for the week. Not three minutes later, you could hear something, a small commotion slowly building. Well I was curious, so I looked up and saw about 150 children rushing to one side of the putting green, why. Then I turned around, and who is making a b-line for the parking lot, followed by three police officers (and four others holding back the crowd), but Tiger Woods (he didn't look like he was limping). Welcome to the Open mom and dad.

Today, was a good day. There were a lot of people at the course, considering it is only Monday. After a trip into the Cleveland Tour Trailer to tinker with some clubs (thanks to Rob and all involved), I headed to the range and practiced in front of 100 people for the first time ever. As a few know already, I had the fortune of playing a practice round with Jim Furyk (its a longer story about how it happened, but our third (Joe Ogilvie) who I was suppose to play with, played earlier, leaving the Jim and I as just a twosome). He was very courteous and we chatted a little bit here and there. "Fluff", Mike Cowan, is still Jim's caddie and also one of Tony's (T-bone from now on) idols. On the 12th fairway, Fluff made Tony's week by bumming a cigarette off of him. Anyway, it was great opportunity and great practice for what the distractions of playing on Thursday may be like, there was a good crowd following us around. Therefore, thanks to Jim for being such a good guy. Time for bed...

Hey, What's up Phil?

Originally published June 7, 2008

Today, my caddie Tony and I arrived in San Diego. We were met at baggage claim by two representatives from the USGA, Mike and Tony, who got us to our courtesy car a brand new Lexus (tough life right?). What a great job Mike and Tony have, drive brand new cars, and greet people who are about the experience the best week of their lives (at least the qualifiers anyway, this is no big deal to most tour players). So our GPS, already programed, directed us to our hotel, where we checked in and then headed to Torrey Pines.

We were waved past the security gate, the pass is attached to the car, and found our way into the players parking lot, where I randomly (wink), picked a parking spot next to a black Ford SUV, with three people mingling behind it, one wearing a green Callaway shirt, a very tall and lanky gentleman, and an older very intelligent looking man. (Those who are golf fanatics will know who I am talking about already). It was in fact Phil Mickelson, his caddie "Bones" (Jim McKay), and Dave Pelz. Tony's reaction, "oh, (bleep)" (its a PG blog). When we got out of the car Phil actually acknowledged our presence "Hey, guys what's going on". Which confirmed a few story's I have heard of him being a nice guy. Quite a start to the Open. We headed to the practice area and hit some putts, and then about 50 balls until it was time to introduce myself to US Open rough. Well here's an understatement, it is long, but you could get the club through it, and I am interested in seeing what it is like on the course, I anticipate worse.

Tomorrow, we are planning to get out to the course early, play our first full round, register, then spend the rest of the day practicing.

Before I go, I do have a little tease from something that Tony and I did on Friday. We filmed a story about our trip to the open, and more importantly about Tony's recovery from a car accident 11 years ago that almost took his life, and tragically did take the life of James Culligan. The story will air on NBC 11 in the San Francisco Bay Area, on Wednesday, June 11.

press release

Originally published June 5, 2008

ILLINI GRAD QUALIFIES FOR U.S. OPEN GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
Garrett Chaussard punches ticket to Torrey Pines

Millbrae, Calif. -- June 4, 2008. Former University of Illinois golfer Garrett Chaussard qualified on June 2, for this year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Chaussard’s 141 (68-73) at Lake Merced Golf Club, his home course near San Francisco, captured one of seven spots in the field of 86 players. His finish was one stroke behind the site’s low score of 140, posted by PGA Tour Pros, Jason Gore (67-73) and Michael Allen (67-73) and Canadian Tour Pro John Ellis (69-71). The U.S. Open tournament runs June 12-15 at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California.

"This is by far the highlight of my playing career and a week I never want to forget, your first major championship only comes around once"

Chaussard, graduated from U of I in 2005 with a degree in finance. He played in 49 consecutive events at U of I trailing only PGA Tour Pro Steve Stricker for the most events played while in school. Chaussard made four appearances at NCAA regionals and two at NCAA finals. He captured the title at the 2004 Northern Intercollegiate, one of many top 10 finishes during his Illini career.

Chaussard, remembers watching his father, Ronn hit golf balls into a large net in the garage. At age 3, his father handed him a club during one of those sessions in the garage. Instead of watching, he was hitting, and it was good. And it kept getting better…

Chaussard, 24, is no stranger to major golf tournaments. He played in the 2004 US Amateur at Winged Foot (NY) and was a quarterfinalist at the 2000 US Junior Amateur at Pumpkin Ridge (OR). In his third year as a touring professional he most recently played on the Gateway Tour and was a member of the Canadian Professional Tour in 2006.

For more information about the U.S. Open: http://www.usopen.com/en_US/index.html

Up and Running (My First Ever Entry!)

Originally published June 4, 2008

WOW!! That is the only way I can describe the past few days. It definitely has not kicked in yet, but so far its been a crazy, after all its my first US Open what else should I have expected. Before I forget, thank you again to everyone who has called, text, and emailed. I've tried to do my best to get back to everyone, and I sincerely appreciate everyone's support.

My plan, should all things go smoothly, is to update this page with background information and to share my thoughts and experiences of my first major championship. Stay tuned!!

New site and space

My goal is to post here with some frequency about things that I find interesting in the golf teaching space, competitive play, education, and other random musings.

The next few posts have been moved over from my previous Blogger space from when I competed in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.  I'm hoping to keep my thoughts in one central space going forward.  Enjoy!