Well, the Ryder Cup experience was fabulous in some ways and frustrating in others. Sadly, for most fans including us, the main story on day one was the weather. I have no photos to show because no cameras or cell phones were allowed into the golf tournament. On the first day, we rode the VIP bus with Jeannie and Taka, Rickie Fowler's grandparents, to the gorgeous Celtic Manor course. As we walked in, the wind began to pick up and the sky to darken. As we quickly walked around the area looking at the beautiful greens, impressive clubhouse, and all the "tournament buildings" like huge food tents, the PGA welcome tent, and big screen TV viewing areas (all reminiscent of an Olympic venue), the rain began to fall. Soon it was a heavy downpour, and we, along with at least 20,000 other people headed for the huge mechandise tent. At least we could shop for a few souvenirs until the rain let up, we thought.
We then heard the announcement that play had been suspended and an announcement would be made at noon about when it would resume. We happily shopped through the football field-sized tent that had every brand of golf clothing and accessories plus Ryder Cup souvenir stuff - so much to look at and a good place to be waiting for the rain to let up - far better than the beer hall down the path which was sheltering another - oh, 5,000 people. People were packed into every nook and cranny that had a roof on it. The rain was absolutely pouring down. I know this because of what happened to me.
So, Scott and I were together in the check out line and then I sent him on ahead because I didn't want to wait in the line. (He had a shopping basket with the stuff I was buying PLUS all of my things, hat, purse, umbrella everything. No cell phones allowed so not my phone - it was back at the car.) I thought I'd just meet him at the end of the check-out section. I made my way there and waited. And waited. There were people packed in everywhere and I was soon pushed outside the souvenir tent. I kept waiting thinking I would surely see Scott or someone from our group of 6. Then I got worried that they had somehow gone out before me, so I walked out into the downpour. No hat, no umbrella - luckily I had my raincoat on.
At this point I realized that I was in a bad situation. There was a huge line of people waiting to get IN to the souvenir tent. There were people everywhere in this large area which was half the size of the quad at USU. It seemed like everyone had a black umbrella - extra large - and a black raincoat. It was raining so had you couldn't really see well. I started walking up and down the sidewalk looking for someone from our group. I went to the front of the store where we had originally planned to meet - but that after shopping, by a painted sportscar, but the meeting time had long passed. The water on the grassy areas was in huge puddles and splashed around my legs as I was forced to walk across the grass because the sidewalks were crowded with umbrellas. I saw a booth a ways off that said "Lost Property," and I went there and stood under the canopy with dozens of other people who were trying to escape the rain (to find anything). I was soaked - looked like I was drowning - but I stood there hoping that maybe Scott would look over there and see me under the sign that said lost.
Then I decided to go back to the painted car and look one more time. It was embarrassing to stand in one place. I walked over but saw no one - then thought to stand in the middle of the grassy area in view of everyone, hoping Scott would see me all alone out there. I was dripping and probably looked a little frantic. At that point, I noticed two older gentlemen with huge umbrellas coming toward me smiling. One said, "Do you need help?" The other told me to get under his "brellie" while we talked. I told them about my situation, and they said they would help me figure out a way to locate someone in my group. They were so kind - with the most delightful British accents - and they showed up when I was about to start bawling. (Mainly because of the rain - if you know me, you know that I HATE to be wet - I wear rubber gloves on my hands even if I am wiping off my kitchen counter, I never walk in wet grass with sandals on, etc.)
My new friends, Graham and Noel, took me back to the "Lost Property" tent while they went to event headquarters to find out if there was some kind of message board or announcement system. While I was at the lost booth I began to chat with some other kind people and then Graham and Noel came to get me. I told the people at the lost booth that if they saw a man with a gray coat and red umbrella looking for someone to please tell him that his wife went to the event headquarters.
It was still pouring - even harder - more rain than I've almost ever seen. I was so upset with my self and the situation and kept thinking about little kids being lost. It's such a helpless hopeless feeling to be lost. I was thinking that now I know how kids feel - both scared to be lost and scared to be in trouble that they are lost. I knew that Scott was probably so frustrated that I was gone and he probably thought that I had gone back in to shop more without telling him, which was NOT the case.
As I walked along with Graham, I was scanning the crowd. Suddenly I saw Taka and Jeannie. (They hardly know me, but I was so glad to see them that I acted like they were my best friends.) They had left the others earlier, and they didn't know I was lost....but they knew where Pat and Mark were - so I said good-bye to Graham and Noel and thanked them sincerly and profusely. Taka and Jeannie kindly took me back to the check-out area of the souvenir tent - where I happily joined Pat and Mark. It had been over an hour now and I looked awful.
Scott was off looking for me. My biggest worry was that he had gone to the Lost booth and talked to the people who than sent them to event headquarters - but I had never made it there. Sure enough, those nice people saw a man walking across the grass and ran out and asked him if his wife was lost - then told him I had gone to event headquarters. Well, Scott went there and they had not seen me, but they posted a notice that went out across the area system with my name as a lost person.
Meantime Mark set out looking for Scott and Patty and I waited. We knew that eventually Soctt would return to where Pat and Mark were waiting and find me there, which is what happened. I was so relieved to get all of that over. Scott was glad to find me and be done with the search.
It was still pouring so we made our way back to the bus to get a ride back to our hotel. There is a nice shopping mall in the middle of Cardiff, and we stopped there because that really was all there was to do in the still-pouring rain. We ate a nice dinner - something we all needed- and watched the local weather forecast and Ryder Cup news, grateful that no rain was predicted for the next day and tournament play would resume. What a day.