KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 07: Tiger Woods of the United States looks on during a practice round of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 7, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Sure, Tiger Woods can smile. He doesn't have to sit on a shuttle bus for hours just to get to the office.
Yani Tseng, Stacy Lewis, and a slew of other top LPGA golfers are contending this week in the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic. With no TV broadcast of the event, thanks to the economy, fans may be excused for believing the women were on hiatus while the guys slugged it out at the PGA Championship.
But LPGA officials are nothing if not creative in their efforts to attract fans. With most of the golf world focused on Kiawah Island, the women’s tour’s PR honcho took to Twitter to remind scribes, who were grumbling about sluggish shuttle rides to the venue, that his organization provided first-class accommodations.
“Golf writers covering the PGA Championship putting on a clinic complaining about logistics. Can't overestimate the power of on-site parking,” tweeted Mike Scanlan, the LPGA’s director of media communications. “This year's Kraft Nabisco Championship @KNCGolf offered clubhouse valet parking to the media.”
Credit Scanlan with humorously trying to capitalize on a story trending among many in the press corps. In the reporters' defense, hours-long stretches on a bus after slogging through the heat and humidity watching Tiger Woods, et al, and then typing your fingers off to meet deadlines can’t be much fun. And with the Ocean Course located on a barrier island some 20 miles from Charleston, S.C., it sounded as if transportation planners were not quite prepared for the onslaught of media, ticket-holders and officials who had to park in designated areas and board buses for the 10-mile crawl down a two-lane road onto Kiawah.
Indeed, PGA Championship director Brett Sterba told South Carolina Insider that, as early as Tuesday, more people than the anticipated 30,000 per day had made use of the shuttles and buses.
“What we’ve found out these first two days,” said Sterba, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, “is our on-island ridership is about 20 percent greater than we expected.”
USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio, for one, was not amused by the inconvenience.
“Here's a shocker ... The shuttle bus system at the PGA Championship is a joke. Work 12 hours, wait another to catch a bus,” @Steve_DiMeglio tweeted on Friday. “Colleague said earlier this week it was easier to get off Alcatraz that it is to get off Kiawah. Very true. And faster, too.”
DiMeglio was hardly the only typist put off by the commute.
“Kiawah is beautiful spot for PGA but man, it's a logistical nightmare,” tweeted @TimWood_BR, managing editor at Bleacher Report. “20 mile media bus ride, 90 minutes in, still 20 mins away.” Woods added the hash tag, #whoaisme”
Mike Buteau of Bloomberg News had a solution for the transit nightmares, which included one writer’s account of a trip from hell (or Charleston, to be more precise) that began at 10 a.m. and took 2 hours 40 minutes.
“RideTheEarlyBus,” @MikeButeau suggested on Friday. “I took the 7 am bus. 65 mins. All is well if you wake up early”