I arrived in Pusan, Korea on Monday night and was greeted by a horde of blood thirsty taxi drivers. They assured me the distance from the airport to the golf course was an hour and a half on the highway and the best price I could get was $120. I negotiated that price down to $100 and hoped in the Hunyadi with a non-English speaking driver who liked Michael Jackson and Britney Spears music. We drove over the dark, empty roads that wove around the Pusan mountains listening to 'Bad' and 'Hit Me Baby One More Time' on cassette. As we finished the King of Pop, Queen of Rehab mixed tape fifty minutes later, we rolled into the tournament hotel. "50 minutes" I said, pointing to the clock. "No, eh, no...traffic," he replied. He continued, "Pay now." "Oh yeah, now you speak English!" I laughed.
I played my practice round yesterday on Lake Hills GC, the most narrow and out of bounds-ridden golf course I have ever seen. One pro who played his college golf for UCLA, said "well, if you hit it perfectly and putt it in the hole all day, you should be okay out here." Many of the holes have O.B. directly off the fairway and 2 yards off the green, creating some potentially daunting shots. The course offers spectacular views as its' holes are cut up and down the side of a mountain, leaving few flat lies for a golf ball to rest on. As I reached some of the elevated tees, I could look over the entire course, the mountains beside and the lakes below.
While many players are deterred by white-peg (o.b.), undulating style, I have come to love these challenges. I hit one driver in the practice round yesterday and have plans to do the same in the tournament. I will hit more 3 and 4 irons off the tee this week than ever before to get the ball on the fairway and let my short game sing great songs of birdie triumphs.
After the practice round, some of my aussie 'mates' and I went for dinner. As we took our shoes off and bowed to the hostess/waitress she leapt off for the kitchen. We sat on the floor in front of the two foot high table and were greeted by a plate full of pig entrails: stomach, intestine, liver and other items that should have remained inside the pig's body. We decided it was best to hit the road hungry and found a 7-Eleven with some canned Tuna and Ramen Noodles to feast on.
Off the course it will be boiled eggs, canned Tuna and Ramen Noodles this week. On the course, it will be carved Filet, laced eagle and birds.