The People's Golf Writer's RV can't compete with the pros
Editors' Note: Jack McCallum will be spending the week in an RV, experiencing The People's Open with the people, and periodically sharing his adventures with us in Press Tent. See photos from McCallum's week in the RV. OLD BETHPAGE, N.Y. -- The ol' RV parked in Site 29 at Battle Row Campground has become kind of like home for the People's Golf Writer over the last week. Fran Connors, a publicity man for the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, has supplied me with literature from GoRVing.com, the clearinghouse for motorhome info, and assured me: "You'll be buying one of these babies by the end of the week."Well, assuming I had the approximate $125,000 for my 32' by 8' Flair motorhome from El Monte RV -- a reasonable price given the fact that it can be your full-time digs -- that's probably not going to happen. Remember that I said kind of like home. It's not the sleeping; sleeping has been fine. I don't feel quite as strongly about my RV bedroom as skiing bad boy Bode Miller did when he tried to avert team rules by staying in his RV. "My team is sabotaging me by not letting me sleep in my motorhome," he said. But my Flair has a nice queen-sized bed and the shades pull down all the way to shut out the light.The living area is fine, too: more than enough space, more than enough light, more than enough quietude. Ditto for the kitchen: more than enough room to maneuver, stove works well, refrigerator keeps the beer cold. Not much cooking goes on there, anyway. In what has become an up-scaling trend -- a recent New York Times story chronicled batting cages and espresso bars at campgrounds -- Battle Row-ians can get pizza and Chinese delivery from nearby restaurants.
No, for me, the deal-breaker would probably be the bathroom. As a stereotypical American male, I like heads the size of, say, football stadiums. When I think back to my childhood, it's a miracle that the McCallum family got by with five people using one small bathroom, particularly since my sister spent 12 hours a day in there. Perhaps this is a subject better explored in analysis than at golf.com, but there you are.Don't get me wrong: The bathroom is not unfairly small, and I have no doubt that some motorhome bathrooms are smaller. And some are bigger. Size in RVs, as in most things, matters. My neighbors Greg and Frank were having a discussion about whose RV was longer one day, and by the time they had finished playing mine's-bigger-than-yours I wasn't sure what we were talking about.One thing is certain: When it comes to touring golf pros, theirs are most certainly bigger than ours. I was surprised to discover how much the motorhome culture weaves through the Tour since many of these guys make enough money to have their own Gulfstreams. (Phil Mickelson is one of those guys.) The RV trend probably started with Davis Love III several years ago. His moniker doesn't exactly conjure up visions of a motorhome owner, but, then, Love's RV -- a 45-footer known as a "land yacht" -- doesn't exactly conjure up visions of an RV. It's the kind of palace-on-wheels that Imelda Marcos would've traveled in during her heyday, with substantial room for all her shoes. Love wasn't at the Open this week -- his exemption for winning the 2007 PGA has run out -- but he's billed and cooed about his traveling home many times. "I've got my bed, my pillows, my satellite card, my underwear and socks in the RV," he said a few years ago. Whether or not he also has a mortgage on the reported $1.25 million rig I don't know.Rory Sabbatini -- who missed the cut but still might be, to the best of my knowledge, LRVG (Low RV Golfer) -- travels the Tour with his wife, son and two dachshunds in another 45-foot land yacht that includes a washer and dryer. Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters winner, is in his RV during many weeks of the Tour but did not bring it to Bethpage. John Daly is also a motorhome guy, and, oh, if motorhomes could talk, huh? Alas, Daly isn't here this week either, so I have no tales to tell. He did say once that the $1.3 million Dalymobile has a slideout propane grill so large that he can cook off 20 steaks at a time. I'm assuming the RV's capacity for adult beverages is even more impressive.I should emphasize that the pros' RVs are not parked at Battle Row -- they are hard by the course. We're a simple people over here a mile from the course and don't need the big rigs with all the amenities. Many of my fellow Battle Row-ers, the ones in tents and smaller RVs, must trudge over to the public bathrooms at the back of the grounds three or four times a day. Which makes me feel a little guilty about my complaints.As Fran the p.r. guy points out: "At least RVs have bathrooms. Try going to the bathroom in a car or truck."I have, and I can tell you it's no day at the beach.