PALM HARBOR, Fla. — For Canadian snowbird couple Bob and Jill Doak it is the practice round that attracts them to the PGA Valspar Championship.
The retired Eastern Ontario residents are among thousands who attend the traditional Tuesday event as the opening to the early season golf tournament that this year features Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.
“If you come on a play-day you’re eight deep (in the crowd) and it’s hard to see the guy you want to play,” said Bob, waiting at the 10th tee for McIlroy to tee off. “We try to come to this tournament every year.”
Golf fanatics can follow their favourite players around the course and often have a chance to grab an autograph as well, the latter something you cannot do when the tournament begins.
“I like to get their autographs, see them in person,” said Bob.
The field at the Copperhead course also includes such names as Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, and Adam Hadwin, the Canadian defending champion.
Bob and Jill are excited to see some debuts at the Tampa-area tournament on the Copperhead course.
“I mean for Tiger and Rory to come to this … it’s never happened before” said Bob Doak.
They’re also excited to see Arnold Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, who they have followed throughout his career on the Tour.
“Sam has come a long way since he’s got on the PGA Tour,” said Doak “I hope for his sake he does really well here and I know his grandfather would be really proud of him. He’s a real gentleman.”