Fans seek photos, autographs and better views at PGA Championshi - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fans seek photos, autographs and better views at PGA Championship practice rounds

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Even practice rounds bring a big crowd as the best golfers in the world scope out Valhalla. The PGA Championship got underway Monday morning, with thousands of fans in attendance. 

"Practice rounds are fantastic days where it's not serious competition like the championship rounds. They'll sign autographs, they'll have their photos taken and they will definitely interact with the fans," said Senior Director of Championships for PGA of America David Charles. 

"I was surprised. I've always watched it on TV and stuff growing up and I'm amazed you can get within 10 feet of the players," said Nicholas Williams of Berea, who only bought tickets for Monday. 

Golfers will get three days to check out the course before championship rounds start Thursday. Tickets are cheaper for the practice rounds and easier to get. "Championship rounds are completely sold out," Charles said. 

WDRB found a lot of people from the Louisville area taking advantage of the fact that this event is happening so close. 

"There are a lot of locals out here. I haven't run into a lot of people from anywhere else but Louisville today," Louisville's Mark Parrish said.  

"This is a hometown celebration. We get to show off Louisville, Kentucky at its best just like we do at Derby time and this is something everyone can participate in," said Diane Nelson, also from Louisville.  

Officials with PGA of America say the crowds are expected to thicken throughout the week. 

"We actually have all states represented. Somebody has bought a ticket from all 50 states," said Charles. He adds that people from 20 countries outside the U.S. also bought tickets. 

The question about whether Tiger Woods will be playing for all those people is on many minds.

"We're hoping that he's going to be here," Charles said. He confirms Woods' caddy was at Valhalla Monday checking out the course. 

Even Congressman John Yarmuth chimed in on the subject at an event earlier in the day noting interest is always higher when Tiger is on the course.

"Obviously, we're going to have a sellout whether he's here or not."  Yarmuth said, "But there's a different level of excitement when he's not in the field. There's not as much media attention, there's not as much viewership, so it's important that he plays. I hope he can."

PGA Officials say tickets from the practice rounds are still available. Officials say Tuesday is the long drive competition. 

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