Things are beginning to heat up here in Gulf Shores, both literally and figuratively, on the eve of the 2009 GCSAA Golf Championship and Golf Classic.
By about 9 a.m. today, roughly half of the 350-player field had officially checked in, and by the time the registration area closes up shop at 8 o'clock tonight, that number will likely be down into the single digits. Traditionally, most competitors squeeze in a practice round on Saturday of tournament week after checking in that morning or before checking in that afternoon. So one way or the other, the bulk of the field is here and ready for the first day of play — either in the first round of the National Championship or in the four-ball competition — tomorrow.
Yours truly is also ready to go after taking my first spin around Gulf Shores this morning. I worked the tournament the last time we were in this part of the world back in 2000, and since all three facilities hosting play this year are carryovers from that event, I had a pretty decent feel for the area. But we're in a different hotel this year — we were headquartered in Mobile, Ala. last go around; at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala. this year — so I wanted to get a little reorientation in before the first tee shots began to fly at Kiva Dunes, Peninsula and Craft Farms. Mission accomplished.