Tee Times -Early Morning, Mid Morning, Afternoon
Getting ready for the first day of the Kingsmill Champion at the Resort Course in Williamsburg, Virginia, I looked through the field today to see the order. Besides noticing the conspicuous absence of Michelle Wie, which surprised me, considering that she’s playing so well, the second thing that caught my attention was the early morning tee times. Louise Freiberg, Katy Harris, Brittany Lincicome, and Katie Burnett are going to start the show off at 7:30 in the morning.
I know there are people who love this time of day, and I can understand why, but it’s perilously close to cow milking time (dawn or before), and frankly, I can’t do it, no matter what the aesthetic reward. My first day of college had an 8 o’clock class, and when the professor asked me my name, I answered, in one language or another, “Could we start with an easier question?” I wasn’t that smart-mouth type of kid, but I can honestly say that I stayed up for more 7:30s than I got up for them.
So how does this foursome feel about teeing off so early? If you’re an attacker, you get to set the pace, or at least attempt it. If you’re having a good day, you could get a sense, albeit false, that you’re way ahead of the field, most of whom are still stuck at even par coming down the first fairway or awaiting their starting gun.
But, the early morning has its dangers. Someone like me could easily miss the tee time and be disqualified. It happened with more than one early morning class. It doesn’t matter if I’m up at four, the body knows when it’s eight. At eight, I can’t see a golf ball, lift a club over my shoulder, or solve life’s most basic problems.
Another problem with the early time is that the weather hasn’t had a chance to sort itself out. If it’s hot, early might be a good way to go, but mid-morning is usually better for that. Besides, if there’s fog, it won’t have lifted yet, mental or on the course. There could be a heavy dew on the fairways and greens, and in my part of the country, it could be snow.
The middle of the pack seems like a good time to start, although you run the risk of looking at a leaderboard around noon, and realizing that someone’s gone six under while you’re the one stuck at even on the first fairway. It could cause anxiety, make you overplay, affect your decision-making.
And what about the afternoon? By now, you’re the definite victim of anyone who had a great day, and the score is plastered all over every leaderboard on the course, rubbing it in. Besides, a late start means that you come in late, maybe last. The shadows are beginning to fall, and you feel the evening “sleepies” setting in. Putts could start to come up short, and wedges need to be nine irons. Then there’s the feeling that the tournament has left you behind as a straggler, and you can only hope that someone is still around to turn off the lights and lock up before you reach the parking lot.
I guess that it’s all a mixture of morning person and night owl, aggressor or patient, fog and dew versus fast greens and heat. Thinking of Virginia in the month of May, it will almost certainly be beautiful in picturesque Williamsburg, but who knows what the weather gods will decide.
I can find solace in one fact, as a weekender who has been instructed to appear at the pro shop at 6:30 am one too many times. At least I don’t have to watch the tournament early in the morning.