We wrapped up our side trip to Mexico City by attending the second round of the WGC Mexico Championship, which was the point of the detour. We can say that the golf was very entertaining. There were many very good shots and also the kind that make us average players smile in the knowledge we could hit them just as poorly. Getting in and out of the tournament venue itself, on the other hand, was a nightmare. I could derisively call it very “Mexican,” but I don’t think the problems were all the fault of the local organizers.
The problem stemmed from a deal the PGA Tour struck with Uber to provide local transportation to and from the event. The issue was that the organizers failed to make clear that if you weren’t a VIP ticket holder and had a general admission ticket like us, the only way to get to the event entrance was to arrive in an Uber. Not knowing this we grabbed a taxi from our hotel, and after much rigamarole, found our way to the appropriate entrance (though a military base with lots of guys in fatigues), only to be prevented from proceeding because, you guessed it, our taxi wasn’t an Uber! The taxi driver had to leave us on the street and from there we hailed the Uber. As it turned out we weren’t the only people confused. We ended up sharing a ride in with a nice family from Guadalajara who attended the event annually and had’t encountered this twist in the past.
Once in we had a great time at the tournament itself and will have more to say about that in a moment, but I can’t leave the Uber mess just yet. If arriving was a confused mess, leaving was an absolute disaster. One would have thought that if there were a large “Uber zone” for its drivers, those drivers would have been lined up waiting to grab a fare. But no. Our first attempt to get a car fell apart after a 30-minute wait, probably because the driver took one look at the mess getting into the venue and said forget it. Our second took an equally long time to get in, encouraged by a very nice bi-lingual Uber rep who was onsite. He called the driver and basically shamed the guy into sticking it out. Weirder still is that people who showed up after us and asked for cars got them faster. Some weird bad luck for us I guess.
But the whole idea of replacing shuttle busses with individual vehicles in a city with such bad traffic as Mexico City was a fundamentally stupid idea. The local organizers also did a piss-poor job of informing Uber drivers what they had to do get into the venue. It basically took us two hours from when we walked out of the grounds to enter our hotel. A bad fail that weighed on an otherwise fun day.
As for the tournament itself, it was fun despite the hassles. Friday rounds in general at tournaments tend to be more lightly attended so we were able to get to see a lot of the action. We moved around rather than follow a particular player, but we watched Dustin Johnson, the defending champ, play a bit, and also Rory McIlroy and others. Saw two of the birdies Bryson Dechambeau made on the way to taking the second round lead. Jordan Spieth, as noted at the top, started off poorly and was already muttering to himself. The course was very nice and once we learned how to get a beer and a snack (another language barrier thing), we had a good time. It will be fun to watch the final round on Sunday having seen the course.