Medinah Moments: Darius Rucker surprises South Elgin caddie at BMW Championship
Medinah's rain-softened course is giving up lots of birdies, and so are we in our unofficial scorecard from the BMW Championship's opening round Thursday.
We're awarding birdies and bogeys to some of the notable moments at the FedExCup playoff event this week. Here's our tally from Thursday's play ...
Birdie: Hootie surprise
Darius Rucker and a microphone is not an unusual sight. But Rucker and a headset, giving color commentary on a marquee threesome?
It was the grown-up version of Hootie and the Blowfish teeing it up with Freddy Couples in the "Only Wanna Be with You" music video, without all the oversized '90s polos.
The Hootie frontman, solo country star and golf superfan moonlights as a PGA Tour ambassador. Rucker was at Medinah to go on-air with PGA Tour Live -- he was in his element following Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed -- and to surprise an Evans Scholar from South Elgin.
Noah Enright thought he had signed up for a Western Golf Association interview at Medinah's clubhouse to talk about caddying and the Evans Scholarship Foundation, the WGA charity that awarded him a tuition and housing scholarship to attend Marquette University. Tournament organizers expect this week's BMW to raise close to $3 million for the foundation.
And then someone tapped him on the shoulder and what Enright imagines was a complete look of shock appeared on his face.
Rucker met Enright about 11 a.m., told him he would get the VIP experience at the hottest ticket in town -- the Hootie reunion tour stop next week in Chicago -- and gave him another, especially thoughtful gift.
Rucker handed Enright, a Marquette senior and guitarist who hopes to become a high school music teacher, an Epiphone acoustic guitar, signed with his autograph and "Noah, good luck man."
"Definitely going to have to hang it up when I get home," said Enright, who caddies at St. Charles Country Club. "I don't know how much playing I'll do on this, but it's just amazing, the whole opportunity. "
Rucker and the guitar isn't the only highlight of "probably the best week" of Enright's life. He got to caddie for Abraham Ancer during his pro-am round.
Birdie: Adam's shoes
Adam Scott finished 5 under par, two shots back from leaders Justin Thomas and Jason Kokrak. But can we take a moment to acknowledge Scott's shoes? The Australian golfer, who has appeared in many a Ralph Lauren ad and in the pages of GQ, stayed true to his classic style in saddle shoes.
His footwear made Koepka's pair look self-indulgent. Yeah, Koepka sported his "Brooks Knows" shoes in a nod to his pro-am playing partner, Bo Jackson, and his "Bo Knows" Nike commercial. But Koepka was still wearing the shoes Thursday. Maybe because he had so much fun with Bo.
"It was awesome," Koepka said after his 4-under 68. "It was incredible getting to finally meet him, everything he's done, how athletic and how big he really is. He's an icon, and it was cool to really get to meet him and kind of build a relationship with him."
Sounds like he could have been talking about his own athletic frame.
Birdie: Joey fans
Tigermania showed up to Medinah's first tee for Woods, who was paired with C.T. Pan and Billy Horschel. But Woods' caddie, Joe LaCava, also got some love from the crowds the day after his induction into the Caddie Hall of Fame.
"He should because he's a great guy," tournament director Vince Pellegrino said.
Speaking of crowds, we caught up with Pellegrino after he watched Woods hit his opening tee shot. He didn't have exact figures, but Pellegrino said he expected upward of 25,000 to 30,000 spectators Thursday. We also counted five DuPage County sheriff's deputies providing a security detail for Tiger's group.
"The crowds are huge just for even a Thursday," Pellegrino said. "They were huge yesterday in the pro-am, and I think it's a little bit of the Western suburbs are a golf-starved market. And being out here in DuPage County is unbelievable, the support we're getting."