I'm a sucker for historical markers. This one is just off U.S. Highway 169 in southeast Kansas, between the towns of Chanute and Humboldt.
Here are the details of the previously mentioned historical marker. The lesson here? Eat beef!
Rolling into Humboldt, Kan. And no, the safety manual does not encourage the taking of digital photographs while driving a car.
More unsafe driving photos, this one of what I assume to be the largest employer in Humboldt, the Monarch Cement Co.
The tastefully appointed Monarch Cement Co. sign.
And here we are -- Humboldt, Kan., the birthplace of Baseball Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson.
To call the road to the birthplace of Walter Johnson a long and winding one would be a bit of an understatement. This was the view through much of my search.
And here we are -- the birthplace of Walter Johnson. At least that's what this sign etched into a slab of concrete says.
More proof that this small southeast Kansas town bore greatness.
With the actual home now simply only a memory, the only recognition that Walter Johnson was born here is this display tucked onto the corner of two dusty country roads in rural Humboldt, Kan.
Just to prove I was there, that's my chariot -- the 2007 Ford Fusion -- parked on the country road near the Walter Johnson monument.
And more proof -- a self portrait at the Walter Johnson memorial. And yes, Fatty McButter Pants will be hitting the gym at the hotel here in Tulsa Monday morning.
While looking for the Walter Johnson memorial, I stumbled upon a nine-hole sand-green layout in Humboldt. Not sure what these were Stimping on Sunday afternoon.
Just to prove how far I ventured for you, the faithful readers of the GCM blog, please note the mileages to the Walter Johnson monument on this sign.
Home away from home for the next week -- the media center at Southern Hills. This is normally the club's indoor tennis facility.
This is the media dining center. Trust me -- this may be the only time all week you see this area empty.
Please tip you cap to the first bottle of water that I drank this week at Southern Hills. The first of many, I can assure you.
The syringe team was out early and often on Monday at Southern Hills, protecting the course's bentgrass greens, bermudagrass tees and fairways and bermuda/fine fescue roughs.
This is Travis McMahan, a full-time staffer at Southern Hills and a proud Oklahoma State graduate (they're the Cowboys ... he's wearing a Cowboy hat ... get it? ... ah, forget it), syringing the rough on the right side of the ninth fairway.
The fans situated all around Southern Hills were getting a workout on Monday attempting to keep the putting surfaces cool. All of them will be removed before play begins on Thursday, then returned following play to assist in cooling.
This tarp splits in two the large maintenance building at Southern Hills. On the other side of the tarp is the air-conditioned staff meeting/dining area.
One corner of the staff meeting/dining area has been converted into a game area, with two electronic dart boards just to the right of this.
One of the many signs adorning the walls of the meeting/dining area at the Southern Hills maintenance area.
Look! More signs! And this picture just happened to be taken at the same moment that a certain favorite in this week's tournament was making an appearance on ESPN.
Russ Myers tipped his cap to the sponsors providing meals and other assistance to the maintenance efforts this week, so I thought I would do the same with this picture. Luber Brothers, by the way, is a golf course equipment distributor.
Late morning on Monday, the meeting/dining area was virtually empty.
Hey, look what Southern Hills assistant Roy Bradshaw (right) and volunteer Kyle Callahan from Muirfield Village are checking out? It's the Photo Quiz column in the August issue of GCM!
Who says you can't landscape your maintenance facility? Not the boys at Southern Hills. This is the entrance way to the permanent staff lounge.
Much of the equipment around the Southern Hills maintenance facility bears tags that either indicate that machine's height of cut (like these John Deere units) or what hole the equipment will be deployed on each day.
These walk-behind greens mowers will visit the same greens each day of tournament week.
If you think these riding greens units are seeing action only on greens this week, you'd be mistaken. On Monday afternoon, they were patrolling the edges of the fairways, giving the outside a two-wide pass.
This is Southern Hills superintendent Russ Myers, CGCS addressing the troops before Monday afternoon's rounds. Sorry about the red eye, Russ.
After their afternoon meal, the maintenance team at Southern Hills listen intently to Myers' (standing, left) instructions.
Following the afternoon meeting, the maintenance team at Southern Hills springs into action. These rotary units are bound for duty mowing greens surrounds.
Myers (left) chats with two buddies who have plenty of major championship experience in their own right -- Eric Greytok (far right), who hosted U.S. Opens at both Pebble Beach in 2000 and Winged Foot last year; and John Zimmers, who played host to the U.S. Open at Oakmont this past June.
This Jacobsen unit gets a quick check before heading out on the course Monday afternoon.
Myers (right) chats with staff members before Monday afternoon's rounds.
Members of the maintenance team tackle the surrounds on the first green Monday afternoon.
When a player working his way through a practice round hopped on the first tree, the crew charged with repairing ball marks moved to the side to let him play through. "They hit eight shots each into the green and then they wonder why there are ball marks on the green," Myers told me only half in jest while they waited.
See? I told you so. Those previously featured riding greens units are tackling the first fairway at Southern Hills.
Myers offers some additional instruction to a group of maintenance team members on the first fairway.
Myers and several other tree members climbed into this television platform (still under construction, by the way) to identify several branches that need to be removed to clear the way for the camera shot.
Myers gives the ninth green a once over. Both the ninth and 18th greens were tweaked following the 2001 U.S. Open to open up more potential hole locations and ease the severity of the slope off the front of the greens.
Soup's on in the meeting/dining area at Southern Hills prior to Tuesday afternoon's maintenance rounds. It's best to stand aside when 100 hungry maintenance workers make their way to dinner.
Russ Myers, CGCS (second from left) confers with two guys he referred to as "celebrity superintendents" during Tuesday afternoon's meeting -- Eric Greytok (far left) and John Zimmers (right) -- while the mentor of all three superintendents, Paul Latshaw (second from right) looks on.
Workers get acclimated to the heat before gearing up and heading out on the course Tuesday afternoon.
Greytok (left) and Zimmers took charge of the greens mowing crews Tuesday afternoon, and hand out instructions to those team members.
Look who I ran into while walking back to the media center Tuesday afternoon -- it's Retief Goosen, who won the last major played at Southern Hills, the 2001 U.S. Open.
It's Retief in action.
Russ Myers, CGCS (center) chats with PGA Tour Radio's Peter Kessler (a former GCM columnist, by the way) in the media center Wednesday morning.