Podcast: Breckenridge Golf Club’s Erroll Miller reflects on Father’s Day weekend at the Pebble Beach U.S. Open
Late this winter, Sean Miller, son of Breckenridge Golf Club PGA pro Erroll Miller, asked his dad if he’d like to take a family trip to Pebble Beach Golf Course on California’s coast to watch the 2019 U.S. Open.
What a “Dad’s Day weekend” the idea turned out to be, the elder Miller said.
Erroll Miller had been to the hallowed West Coast golfing ground before, back in the ’80s when he played a couple of rounds at Pebble himself. Returning to Pebble Beach with Sean; his wife, Sue; and Sean’s girlfriend, Ashley, was a truly special memory in Erroll’s life, as the foursome got the chance to watch Sean’s favorite player, Tiger Woods, and more of the world’s best golfers at one of the world’s most famous courses.
“He’s a real Tiger fanatic,” Erroll said about his son, who is the PGA club pro at the Omni Interlocken in Broomfield. “He just got addicted to golf, and he grew up in the era of Tiger. Tiger is his guy, where Jack Nicklaus is my guy.”
“So (Sean) made the statement almost a year ago,” Erroll added, “that if Tiger ever won another major, he’d propose to his girlfriend. So when the Master’s comes around, everybody is kidding him, ‘Why didn’t you propose?’ So the proposal hasn’t happened, but his love for Tiger hasn’t diminished, and his girlfriend loves Tiger, as well.”
The Miller foursome got the chance to watch Woods during a weekend when Woods’ final score of -2 put him in a tie for 21st.
“He commands the gallery,” Erroll said about watching Woods. “His gallery is, I would guess, three to four times the other players’. Particularly those first couple of days, you never know if he is going to make the cut or not. People want to see him on Thursdays and Fridays. He’s a vacuum to the spectators that are out there. And so, if you are going to see Tiger, you’ve got to get a couple of holes ahead and see him come through. Then maybe jump a couple of holes ahead again. Because if you are trying to follow him, it’s just chaotic.”
All that said, Erroll described how he approached taking in the tournament, a plan that included seeing a bit of action from as many of the 18 holes as possible over the three-day stretch while also hunkering down from a specific vantage point.
The eventual spot Erroll settled on was along the rope on the par-3 fifth hole, a location that put his family just 30-feet away from many of the world’s best golfers, including eventual winner Gary Woodland, of Topeka, Kansas.
“For us to watch not only their putts, but their short-pitch shots or bunker shots — a couple bunker shots holed out, we saw some flubbed shots — when you are that close, you can actually see their facial expressions, hear them cussing,” Erroll said.
Erroll, who hadn’t attended a PGA Tour event in a few years, was impressed with the technological advances for spectators. He described how he and his family used ear buds to listen for free to satellite coverage of the action elsewhere on the course. And then there were the drones flying above the course.
As for the course itself, Erroll said it’s the type where most people “can remember every hole.” Similar to Breckenridge Golf Club’s relatively small greens, Erroll commented on Pebble Beach’s tiny greens. He said they featured a Scottish look because of the tall grass that towered out and around hazards, such as nearby bunkers.
As for what it’s like to play Pebble, Erroll said there is indeed a special energy at the country’s most famous West Coast course.
“Pebble definitely has an aura to it,” he said. “And I would presume an intimidation factor to it. You have some of those holes right along the ocean, and you know you don’t want to put it in the ocean. But yet, if you try to play the soft side of the course, so to speak, where there is no hazard, you are just going to have a really difficult shot into the green. So it requires an A-game, without a doubt. The beauty of it is when you are playing some of the holes, you see almost the entire layout. … You see so much coastline. You see the holes in the future … seeing how that coastline will unfold for you.”
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