Michele Hardy and her husband, Deral, gave away free bottles of water and Gatorade from their back porch off hole No. 2.
Fans weren’t required to make a donation. Any money donated went entirely to Active Church, the family’s home church in Yukon where they’re still members even after they moved to Oak Tree three years ago.
“It was a really fun week. We met a lot of people, including some of the players’ wives,” Michele said. “We mainly just wanted to bless people.”
Early in the week, a player’s tee shot sliced so far right it hit the Hardys’ roof, and a couple of players chatted briefly when they hit tee shots near the Hardys’ backyard.
“Everyone talked a lot about how great this golf course is,” Michele said. “It was just so hot most of the week that there were a lot of hot, tired people. We really enjoyed just seeing them smile.”
Early in the week, the Hardys also sold sleeves of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls for $5. The balls were donated by church members.
ORIGINAL ‘SPORTS’ PSYCHOLOGIST
Tom Lehman is one of several golfers at the U.S. Senior Open who have referenced the Bible when asked about whether they’ve hired a sports psychologist.
“I’ve never had a sports psychologist,” Lehman said. “My wife and I have discussed this topic before and it’s like you have the greatest road map in this book called the Bible. So, why do you need somebody else to tell me what we already should know?
“People who have a spiritual faith tend to have a perspective that maybe allows you to not put such a strong emphasis on winning and losing, that at the end of the day there’s more important things in the world than a golf tournament.”
Bernhard Langer, the leading money winner on the Champions Tour who owns 92 career wins, said he’s talked to a couple of sports psychologists but has rarely used them since he became a Christian in 1985.
“Ninety-nine percent of what they’re telling you is in the Bible,” Langer said. “You’ve just got to read it, so you don’t need a lot of sports psychologists. If you’re a believer, and you know the Bible, it’s all in there. It’s the best book that was ever written. It’s a best-seller, always has been.”
OAK TREE SHOWS ITS TEETH
If you’re looking for statistical proof of Oak Tree National’s toughness, it shows in the scores.
None of the previous three U.S. Senior Open sites had played above a stroke average of 73.19 overall. Through four rounds at Oak Tree, the field averaged 75.31.
EASIEST HOLE OF THE WEEK
As it had been virtually every day of the tournament, the 511-yard par 5 seventh hole was the easiest hole of the week, finishing with a stroke average of 4.870.
Eleven of the 14 eagles in the tournament came at No. 7, along with 157 birdies, 175 pars, 78 bogeys and just 18 scores of double-bogey or worse.
Nos. 7 and 14, both par 5s, were the only holes to play under par for the tournament. Those two holes accounted for 266 of the 1,009 birdies recorded.
HARDEST HOLE OF THE WEEK
Holes like Nos. 13 and 18 made for big scoring swings throughout the week, because they were on the back nine. But the toughest hole was No. 3, the 469-yard par 4. It had a stroke average of 4.420 with 31 birdies, 251 pars, 113 bogeys and 45 doubles or worse.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Let’s avoid the obvious — champion Colin Montgomerie’s winning putt on the third playoff hole — and give a little credit to some other incredible Sunday shots.
Hall of Famer Tom Kite holed an 8-iron from 139 yards on the first hole for eagle. And perhaps most impressive, Michael Allen drove the green on No. 15, a 364-yard par 4, leaving himself a 6-foot eagle putt, which he sank.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Montgomerie on the USGA and Oak Tree officials’ kind treatment of his wife and three daughters (with a nod to his publicized record of notable speeding tickets): “Your committee looked after them fantastic. They drove them out to the 16th (for the playoff) with the police escort. They'll remember that for a long time. Usually the police cars are chasing me, they're not actually in front.”