I debated for a day if I would write about my travel day on Monday, which could only be described as a very bad hangover. Unfortunately the hangover was not due to excessive celebrating after receiving the Silver Medal on Sunday evening. I’m going to quickly summarize the events of Monday as to not dwell to much on the bad, but rather get to the good of Tuesday to follow.
Monday- awake at 5am to start packing for a noon flight out of Heathrow, many issues to deal with regarding the rented house and some of the issues we had (I’ll leave it at that) the house was once owned by Rod Stewart, and had amazing grounds, pool, jacuzzi. tennis court, 10,000 square feet..etc. The place was perfect to house my family and friends that made the trek to the UK to see me play in the Senior Open. Reiner my good friend and caddy, had already taken a swim, jacuzzi, and was ready to roll by 7am. We finally left for the airport at 9am and had a somewhat uneventful drive to Heathrow, other than going to the wrong terminal. My son had left a carry on bag with many expensive items on a British Airways flight from Paris earlier in the week, and asked me to go to security to fetch his bag for him. I checked in and found out that I did indeed have a first class seat from London to Newark, which I was thrilled about. Now the fun begins, I had almost two hours, so I thought I’d have time to take the train to terminal 5 to get my sons bag (bad decision) once it took me twenty minutes and a train transfer to get to terminal 5, I realized if I didn’t turn back immediately I would miss my flight. The train system is quite complex with many different trains going to different places. Without asking anyone I jumped on a train that I assumed was going back to terminal 4 and my awaiting plane. But no, much to my horror I found myself on a train to central London, and now realized that I would probably miss my flight with all my bags checked to Newark. I quickly hoped off the first stop and got on another train back to the Heathrow, transferred again, and sprinted with my heavy carry on about a half a mile to security, begged them to allow me to the front of the line to have a chance at getting on my flight.
After getting through security I realized I had another quarter of a mile to run to my gate, while hearing over the intercom “Randy Hog (yes pronounced Hog) last call for immediate departure to Newark) with my adrenaline pumping I increased the pace I was moving at and just got to the gate with maybe 10 seconds to spare. Of course these flights all shut you out even 20 minutes before their scheduled departure, and of course once on board the plane had several delays which had us sitting on the plane for an hour before push back. No worries, I was comfortable in my first class seat and enjoyed watching 3 movies during the 8 hour flight to Newark. As we approached Newark the plane was rocking and jumping violently all over the place as we flew right through the eye of a storm, finally touching down moments before I would have has a serious illness problem with the motion sickness I was feeling. No issues then, customs, got the bags, rechecked the bags and headed to another terminal on the far side of Newark to a VERY crowded area that had every flight delayed or canceled. My flight from Newark to Detroit looked like it ws only delayed an hour, so I called the USGA and arranged for the free shuttle to get me at the Detroit airport at 8pm. Well, that would have been nice, but as it turned out the flight got delayed, delayed and delayed until finally I thought it was going to be cancelled. By now I had been awake for over 20 hours and was becoming deliriously tired. I went to the bar area, had a few beers, some great airport food and returned to the gate. I tried to get comfortable on the seats, half lying down until finally the announced we were boarding at 10pm a 6 hour delay. I of course had the back seat that didn’t recline in this puddle jumper plane, that I was just happy I was going to get to Detroit.
Once we landed it is customary for me to check to make sure I have my passport, cell phone, money clip, etc. But my pocket felt lighter and I realized that my money clip must be missing (which had $2,000 cash, my drivers lic, credit cards, etc) so the search began. I spent an extra 10 minutes in the plane looking under the seat, around the seat area, everywhere….now realizing that the money clip (an Olympic Club gold and silver money clip) must have fallen out of my sweats pocket, while trying to get comfortable at Newark terminal A area. Off the plane I spent an hour with the Continental reps calling back to Newark to see if my money clip turned up, which of course it hadn’t.
So here I was in Detroit, missed my shuttle ride to Toledo, no money or credit cards, and no way to get anywhere. Fortunately Reiner was on a late flight from Chicago to Detroit arriving at about 1am. Reiner arrived and we gathered our heavy bags and dragged them to the car rental shuttle area and waited 30 minutes for a Budget shuttle to pick us up. Once at Budget, the agent said, “well we are low on cars, we have a SUV for $425 one way to Toledo” so the agony continued, but wisely we thought a cab ride would be cheaper so the agent called one for us that arrived 20 minutes later (2am now). We now had been up for 26 hours, were beyond tired, frustrated and could only think of what a bed and pillow would feel like.
Our cabby, Sam didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry, and without knowing he drove to his house first (some 20 miles in the opposite direction) to get his cell phone which he forgot. Our ride to Toledo was not what we were expecting, apparently ole Sam was as tired as we were, and spent the entire hour drive swerving across three lanes. Reiner and I had to keep bantering with him to keep him awake. Finally at the Hilton after getting lost for 30 minutes in Toledo, at about 4am we finally had a room and a pillow to rest on.
As bad as Monday was, Tuesday as good. The next post will have pictures and full details of my practice round with Fuzzy Zoeller and Ben Crenshaw, what a thrill and honor it was. More on that later s it’s time to run off to Inverness for practice round #2, more tonight, stay tuned!!