So you think you’d like to go over to Innisbrook and follow Tiger Woods? We’ve got some advice for you, call it the voice of experience. We learned how to maneuver in large crowds from a very experienced gallery member and that would be Barbara Nicklaus, as in Mrs. Jack. Nicklaus galleries at The Masters during his prime were monstrous, at least 10 deep and at The Masters, you have folks who are content to sit in the same spot all day. But Barbara gave us the secrets to watching her husband at his best, time to share a few tips from the woman who knew best how to handle overwhelming crowds on a golf course.
THE RANGE IS YOUR FRIEND: You will see more on the practice tee at a PGA Tour event than you will going out on the course. Guys are more relaxed, you can watch them hit every club in the bag and it’s a low-stress way to watch the guys at a PGA Tour event or any major.
WATCH OUT FOR THOSE BOTTLENECKS: The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook has a lot of holes where spectators are only allowed to walk on one side of the hole. BEWARE of those situations. The first that comes into mind is the second hole and the third. Skip those, get over to the par three fourth and find a spot close to the ropes while the Tiger Woods mob is marching on two and three and getting caught in the traffic jam. There’s also another major bottleneck at the 12th and 13th holes. The 12th is a left-side only deal and 13 is a par three, left side only. The human traffic jams will be huge in those areas. You’re better off over on 14 and you can skip over to the par three 15th.
PAR THREES: The par threes are your friend if you want to get video of Tiger’s swing. You’ll have to get well ahead of him to stake a spot where you can video him.
STAY A SHOT AHEAD: If you are dead-set on following Tiger Woods, then you have to stay a shot in front. You need to be in the fairway when he’s on the tee, at the green when he’s in the fairway. Forget about watching him putt, you won’t see a darn thing.
GO ON THE EARLY TEE TIME DAY: On the PGA Tour, Thursday morning is the best time. Tiger went early Thursday morning the Honda. As things turned out, Tiger goes off late-early. He plays at 12:46 p.m. on Thursday afternoon with Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson. Woods goes early Friday morning, 7:45 a.m. That’s your best bet, get on site by 6:30 a.m.
WEEKENDS? FORGET IT!: The weekend crowds will be enormous, remember Woods has not been here in 21 years. Have a cold adult beverage, get there early, you’ll end up watching it on site on television anyway.
If all else fails, go watch Rory McIlroy, the crowds will be much lighter.