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Originally published June 13, 2014 at 7:44 PM | Page modified June 13, 2014 at 8:54 PM

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Postcard from Pinehurst: The demonic tape recorder and my new pal, Phil Mickelson

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In my dreams as a kid of covering events like the U.S. Open, they never included a tape recorder that went to the dark side.

But mine did. After years of being a trusted companion, it just quit working, right before I was set to interview several members of the advance team for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. My tape recorder was dead. Nothing. Not even new batteries helped.

On Thursday night, I went to bed early to treat myself to six hours of sleep. But at 1 a.m., I started to hear this odd beeping noise. It was the kind of noise that you hope will go away because you don’t want to get up, but you know that it won’t.

After about 15 minutes, I could take it no longer, and I got up. Five minutes later, I finally discovered what was making the noise: my tape recorder. It was flashing and beeping but still not functional. So I did the only humane thing to this terminally ill piece of equipment: I broke it into 1,000 pieces. And of course, it took me an hour to fall back asleep. So much for the six hours.

I went shopping at the 39,000-square-foot main merchandise pavilion at Pinehurst No. 2. I asked a worker what was the weirdest item in the store. His answer was the periscopes, and by luck, the owner was there to help hawk them.

He was Phil Mickelson. Not that Phil Mickelson, but his pop. And after a long chat with my new buddy, I realized the periscopes aren’t really that weird after all. If you are back in the gallery, it’s tough to see the action. But the periscope extends 22½ inches into the air, so you are seeing above everyone’s heads.

“It’s like being on a 2-foot ladder with a pair of binoculars, but using just one eye,” Mickelson said.

Golf writer Scott Hanson will be writing postcards all week from Pinehurst, N.C., site of the U.S. Open. Look for them in the Take 2 blog on seattletimes.com/sports.



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