In just seven short days I will be among hundreds of marshals and thousands of other volunteers working behind the scenes of the PGA's Wells Fargo— formerly Wachovia and Quail Hollow—Golf Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, NC.
My official tournament shirts and wind breaker arrived via FedEx sometime last week and I am set to pick up my official tournament credentials and hat at South Meck High School this weekend. After that I will head on over to the golf course for a walk-through and team meeting with my hole captain and fellow marshals on the tenth hole.
Many people have asked me if I will be paid to work the tournament and my standard reply is, "No, I'm paying to work it!"
After gauging their universally quizzical facial expressions, I explain that I purchased a couple of $100 polo golf shirts, a short sleeved golf jacket, a hat, a seven-day tournament pass, two tickets to bestow upon a lucky friend or two, food vouchers and all the snacks I care to eat for the price of one of those shirts.
For this relatively small cost, I get the opportunity to watch—and possibly interact with—the world's greatest golfers in one of the PGA's highest profile non-Major events while helping ensure the event is pulled off as seamlessly as possible and with minimal distraction to the players.
My good friend and I first attended the tournament shortly after I first moved to Charlotte in 2006 and he immediately decided to sign up to work the tournament as a marshal, which he has done since 2008.
I finally signed up for the volunteer list in 2009 and after waiting two years, I learned in February that I'd been selected to join the team of marshals on Hole 10.
The 10th hole is the longest Par 5 on the course, measured at 591 yards in length from tee-to-green.
As for my role, I don't know much besides the fact that I'll help to ensure fans are quiet and respectful during players' shots, direct traffic and help locate the occasional wayward shot. I will learn much more during my Saturday afternoon walk-through and marshal team meeting before the PGA Tour descends upon Charlotte on Monday.
I will work the Thursday and Friday rounds and I am expected to be at the 10th hole ready to go around 6:30 AM. Parking is available at and around the course, but I will take advantage of the free shuttle service running from nearby Carowinds Amusement Park since it is just ten minutes from my house.
The first two days of the tournament have a larger field than the weekend rounds because no cuts are made until the conclusion of Friday's round, so there could be upwards of 150 players traversing the course during my shifts.
Tiger Woods will not be among the entrants, though, despite his assertion that this is among his favorite tournaments, due to a knee injury he aggravated at The Masters earlier this month.
While I always enjoy the opportunity to see Tiger play up close and in person, his absence will likely make my job easier since I will not be working with the living, breathing, roaring mass of humanity that is a Tiger Woods golf gallery. If you have never seen Tiger play in person, his galleries are just as much of a spectacle and definitely a must-see in the sporting world.
Due to the size of the field in the first two days, half of the players will tee off on the first hole and half will tee of on number ten.
This means I have to be ready to work bright and early, but it also means my marshaling duties will be complete earlier than most of my compatriots around the course since the finishing holes will be the 9th and 18th.
Thus, I will be free to either enjoy an hour or so of golf as a casual observer or head home early to catch the highlights on SportsCenter.
I am excited about my upcoming experience as a first-time marshal in a PGA event and I look forward to sharing more about my experiences at the Wells Fargo Golf Championship.
The comments and opinions in this article are my own and are are not representative of the views and official communications of the PGA and the Wells Fargo Golf Championship.
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