Navigating the slippery slopes at Whistling Straits

We discovered the true meaning of the course’s name Saturday at the PGA Championship when a ball hit by Vijay Singh whistled straight over our heads.

“Fore!” yelled a series of course marshals.

I ducked and embarrassingly buried my head in the stranger in front of me’s sweaty back.

When I looked up, Vijay’s ball had landed smacked in the middle of the crowd. Aiming for the green with his second shot on the second hole, he’d landed in the rough, almost near the tee box on the seventh hole.

“Just goes to show they’re human,” said more than one spectator, including myself.

But, human these professional golfers are not.

Apparently unfazed, Vijay picked his way through the crowd, settled in, gestured with his left arm, which caused the obedient crowd on that side to shift back immediately, and then nailed a smooth approach shot that landed him right on the green. He ended up parring the hole.


As we made our way like mountain goats through the moguls at Whistling Straits we saw plenty of outstanding golf, and politely applauded all sorts of gifted athletes.

But, the real slippery slope, for me, turned out to be the PGA’s very strict no camera policy, which included no pictures from a silenced cell phone.

Accustomed to rowdier venues like Lambeau Field, I could not figure out how photos from a silent phone would disturb anyone, but I abided by the rules…as I read them.

I didn’t take any pictures at all during play.

I heroically refrained from taking pictures of the gorgeous venue, the interesting people, the gifted athletes, even though my photo-taking-finger twitched.

But, I found a couple of loop holes.

Aided by Friday’s weather delay, I snapped a couple of pictures between rounds Saturday morning. I took a shot or two on the way into the venue. And, I snapped some of the world’s greatest golfers practicing on the putting green, because who wouldn’t take a picture of that?

What follows, then, are a couple of quick shots from my carefully silenced, old and ornery phone.

Hopefully, I have not whistled myself straight out of attendance at any more PGA tournaments.

On the way in
We took these shots on the way into the event. This is major (so you’d better follow the rules!)
Vince This is Major
Vince let me take a few pictures of him before things got rolling.
Approach to 18
Due to Friday’s rain delay, we were able to sit comfortably in an uncrowded grandstand on the 18th hole and watch excellent golfers make their way up the fairway on 18, while simultaneously watching the action on 9.
18th hole
This picture earned me a stern rebuke from Vince. It’s the Round Two’s last foursome, which turned out to be a threesome, and I took one opportunity to snap a shot.
Eighth hole between play
The views on this course are spectacular. I took this between rounds on the eighth hole. That’s Lake Michigan meeting the sky on the right.
Between rounds leader board
A between rounds shot of the Round Two leader board.
Vince took this shot of me, in which I look like I’m missing a leg. Also, it was toasty out there.
Shadow selfies
I just thought this shadow selfie was funny. Again, between rounds.
Spieth for president
Spieth for president.
Putting green
Want to know how PGA golfers get to the major events? Practice, practice, practice. Here are Ernie Els, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy and more practicing their puts on a hot day, mid tournament, before each of them would go out and play 18 holes.

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