Golf fans watch Presidents Cup practice


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At Harding Park on Tuesday, there were moments and places where, for fans of golf, practice felt almost intimate.

It was a day when, for hard core aficionados, the only difference between being inside the ropes, or outside, might have been a person or two or maybe a matter of skill.

"I walk the same way they do. Just don't swing it the same way they do," said a spectator.

For those of you who don't follow golf, this is one week every two years when the best players in the world take on the best Americans. This week San Francisco and Harding Park have become the center of golf's universe.

For the Bay Area, it's a great accomplishment.

Aside from the prestige, The Presidents Cup is an economic boom for the region. The Presidents Cup will bring an estimated $70 million this week. That is after San Francisco spent $23 million to renovate Harding Park just six years ago.

"It pretty much was a cow pasture. Folks said it could never get fixed up," said Phil Havlicek.

Havlicek will serve as a volunteer, this week, but he's been playing here for almost two decades. Before the renovation, old-timers remember Harding Park as a world class course that had fallen apart. Now, it is reborn as a destination miracle.

"In some ways we gave up our anonymity, and we knew that was part of the deal, but we're happy we get to play it day in and day out," says Havlicek.

As for all that extra money coming in, guys like Travis Pratt will appreciate it. He was out of work last week and will make $10 an hour through Sunday.

"Got a baby on the way and just got engaged," says Pratt.

So, that's one guy feeling rich, 24 others playing that way, and on a practice day before The Presidents Cup, it's all good.

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