EAST LAKE, Ga.—At 5:35 p.m., Kevin Kisner walked off the course at East Lake having carded the low round of the day at the Tour Championship. Sixteen minutes later, he was showered, changed, and en route to a waiting helicopter, because you don’t stand between a Georgia Bulldog fan and football.
Kisner, a UGA alum, had spent Friday lamenting the fact that he wouldn’t be able to watch his alma mater take on Mississippi State in a key SEC matchup Saturday night. The problem being, of course, that Kisner was slated to play in the third round of the Tour Championship, the final event of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. Work is work, even when work is golf.
The math wasn’t working in Kisner’s favor; he was slated to tee off at 1:45 p.m. Eastern, with Georgia’s kickoff set for 7 p.m. Figuring a roughly four-hour round for Kisner, plus an estimated 90-minute drive time from East Lake to Sanford Stadium—not allowing for traffic—and he’d be lucky to get to his seat by halftime. And if you’re a Bulldog loyalist, half a game simply will not do.
So Kisner did what any of us would do—went on Twitter and begged for a helicopter ride:
I need a helicopter to take me to Athens tomorrow after the round to make the game. Who has one in ATL?
— Kevin Kisner (@K_Kisner) September 22, 2017
Soon afterward, Justin Thomas came through, connecting him with a local helicopter service. Kisner then went out and shot a six-under 64, the best of the day, to leave himself one shot back of Paul Casey’s lead. Partnered with Jason Day, Kisner ripped around the course in under four hours—”Jay shanked one on 16, and I was like, ‘come on, man, I’ve got to go!'”—then bypassed the standard media scrum to dart into the East Lake clubhouse.
Kisner showered and changed into a white Bulldogs golf shirt and khaki shorts while a clubhouse attendant whipped up a to-go package of beverages, cups, and ice for the 25-minute helicopter ride. “How do you tailgate in a helicopter?” someone asked Kisner.
“We’re going to figure it out,” he replied, walking with a small coterie of media and PGA Tour cameras around East Lake’s 10th tee.
Kisner took off shortly after 6 from the nearby Charlie Yates Golf Course, the helicopter cruising over the course he’d just left. He was slated to land at the nearby Athens airport, and from there would have a four-mile, 15-minute drive through gameday traffic and on to the sideline.
“I tried to get them to let me land on the bridge beside the stadium,” Kisner smiled, “but they wouldn’t let me do that.”
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.