OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - Professional golf.. perfect greens and clear skies, a splendid combination for thousands of fans who have made their way to the Grand National in Opelika for the Barbasol Men's Championship.
The competition among 132 pro golfers started Thursday bright and early with the first tee drive at 7 a.m.
"Yes, sir," said Brody DeLee.
DeLee is a little man of few words but there is no doubt he is beginning to love the game of golf. The thrill of driving the ball hundreds of yards and then the soft tap of knocking it in the hole.
"I've hit a few golf balls but I've never played," DeLee said.
One gentleman from Andalusia appreciates the untold sacrifices these guys make, the dedication of delivering that perfect drive.
"It's the turn. When they strike the ball, it's the turn. You know, the hips, arms, legs and knees," he said.
Lisa Grissom of Nashville, Tennessee, is here to simply soak it all in.
"It's about spending quality time with family outdoors," said Grissom.
And then there's Louise Holman of Mobile. Her grandson Robby Shelton is a pro himself who is on the tour to try to win a piece of that $3.5 million overall prize. Just last month, the University of Alabama graduate won his first major tournament in Canada.
"The golf course is the most beautiful place to be. The golf course is so pretty," said Holman.
Don't let the empty seats fool you on day one. With our trusty golf cart driver Rachel Barnes, we got a good view of how all the spectators are spread out. You can expect a much bigger crowd in the coming days.
Justin Harmon of Birmingham was virtually all alone on the first hole and loved every bit of it. Harmon left his home at 3:15 a.m. Thursday to make to the 7 a.m. tee off.
"Well, sometimes you'll see the bigger names here.. tee off early and might want to see them," said Harmon.
We should also mention 70 media credentials were given.. including those from foreign countries such as Japan, South Korea and European countries.
While the overall purse is $3.5 million, the winner will receive $630,000.
Although hot, the weather is perfect. It's the equivalent of a hole-in-one for those who've come far and wide to see the very best on the links.