Picture Perfect Day at Torrey Pines

Watching the world’s best golfers is what draws fans to the Torrey Pines Golf Course for the Farmers Insurance Open. The wide assortment of promotional booths, sponsor tents and other activities at the entrances and along some of the fairways is a pleasant surprise that makes the experience even more memorable.

The Kodak booth and the Military Appreciation Pavilion, both located adjacent to the South’s 14th green, are two of the more popular places.

Thousands of fans have taken advantage of the opportunity to get their picture taken at the Kodak booth. Amber, Piper or one of the others in the booth position their subjects in such a way that the hole and/or the ocean serve as a backdrop. In some instances a fan’s favorite player can even be seen in the background putting out on the green. Within a few minutes of having their photo snapped, the fans are handed a free souvenir to take with them. “That’s a cute picture of all of us,” one woman said to her friends as they walked out.

Glenn and Donna Harris get a souvenir photo to remember their visit to the Farmers Insurance Open.

Marine Sgt. Joseph Barton replaces the flagstick on the South's 14th hole after one of the groups finished playing it.

Glenn and Donna Harris of McLoud, Okla., were were wearing Oklahoma sweatshirts as they followed the group that included Anthony Kim, a Sooners alumni.

“It’s been a blast. It really has . . . ” said Glenn, who paused in midsentence when he heard a cheer go up, “Oh, it looks like he (Kim) just birdied again. Good.”

The Harris’ ducked into the Kodak booth for a picture before heading over to the Military Pavilion.

“There’s so much to do here,” said Glenn. “You can’t ask for anything better.”

Glenn, a chief petty officer in the Navy, was stationed in San Diego recently. As an active military member, he was entitled to enjoy the Military Pavilion sponsored by the Padres. There was a line to get in much of the afternoon, with service members and their families enjoying complimenary food and beverages.

A few uniformed Marines had the added honor of getting to take turns standing behind the green on the 14th hole and replace the flagstick — which had a small American flag on it — after each group completed the hole.

“I play golf myself, so I was all over it,” said staff sergeant Joseph Barton of Gainesville, N.Y., who has been stationed in San Diego the past five years. “I was in for John Daly’s group and Phil Mickelson’s group with Rickie Fowler, and Mr. Kim just came through.

“It was an outstanding experience. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Barton was eager to get back to the base.

“I’m just going to go back and gloat about it now,” he said.

Barton was accompanied by staff sergeant Sheldon R. Edwards, who was still talking about getting an autographed golf ball from Daly earlier in the week.

“That’s the one I really wanted,” said Edwards, who is from West Virginia. It wasn’t the one he really NEEDS, though.

“My sergeant major said to get Tiger Woods’ autograph on a golf ball,” said Edwards, “or he said he’s going to have my orders changed and have me sent to Twentynine Palms.”

The reference was to the world’s largest Marine Base. By distance it is only 150 miles or so from San Diego. By climate? That’s something else altogether. A temperature of 119 degrees was recorded at Twentynine Palms one summer day a few years ago.

Edwards hopes the sergeant major was joking.

Phil Mickelson and Bill Haas share the lead coming into Sunday’s final round of the Farmers. Woods, who slipped from the leaderboard Saturday with a 2-over-par 74, is eight shots back and likely in no mood for signing autographs.

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Kirk

About Kirk

About: Kirk Kenney

I first gripped a baseball at the age of six. The game has had its grip on me ever since. I enjoy watching and writing about Little League, high school and college as much or more as the major leagues. I would be consumed by golf if it wasn’t for this voice in my head whispering “pay the mortgage, pay the mortgage, pay the mortgage.” I enjoying reading a good book, but I’m more likely to watch a good movie. I was born and raised in San Diego. If not, I’m sure I would have moved here.

What would you do on your ideal San Diego Day?

I’d join three of my buddies at sunrise in the first group off the tee at Torrey Pines, then head up the coast a few miles to enjoy Mexican food for lunch at Las Olas in Cardiff. We’d drop down to Del Mar after that, grab our Boogie boards (waiting an hour after eating, of course, before going in the water) and catch a few waves, then wash off the sand and head downtown to Petco Park to catch a Padres game.

What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity?

There’s no way to pick just one. It doesn’t get much better here than playing a round of golf — especially a twilight round where the last putt falls just as the sun sets — because you can do it year-round. My wife and I also enjoy kayaking on Mission Bay or riding bikes along Crown Point Shores.

Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine?

Burger and a beer. Make that a root beer. Nothing beats Mug Old Fashioned poured over two scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Latest music purchases for my iPod player are...

Crazy Heart: The Weary Kind (movie soundtrack)

Lady Antebellum: Need You Now

Eagles: Long Road Out of Eden

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