A Day in the Life of a PGA Tour Volunteer

So many people wonder what it’s like to be “inside the ropes” at a PGA Tour event. We’re about to take you behind the scenes at the Nissan Open at Riviera Country Club.

PGA Tour Volunteers“Ben,” a long-time member of our golf forum, recently volunteered at the wet and wild Nissan Open. Fortunately for Ben, he volunteered on Thursday. Here is one man’s experience.

Volunteers are supposed to be at the course by 6:00 am. I live 15 minutes from the course, so I’m there in plenty of time. I’m to be a standard bearer – the FootJoy sign boy without the annoying attitude or multi-million-dollar advertising contract. The standard bearers meet at the driving range and line up to get our groupings. As we are doing so, players start coming to the range. I saw Hank Kuehne and Colin Montgomerie. I eventually make my way to the font of the line and get the 8:30 time off the 10th tee. My group will include Charles Howell III, Frederik Jacobson, and Bo Van Pelt.

Accenture WGC Match Play Finals

David Toms continued his hot ball striking to capture the Accenture WGC Match Play Finals.

David TomsSixty-four players, 108 holes of golf, just one winner. David Toms continued his golf clinic throughout the finals of the Accenture WGC Match Play Finals today. Toms posted a 6 and 5 victory over Chris DiMarco, and may have displayed some of the best ball striking the PGA Tour has ever seen. In the consolation match, Retief Goosen and Ian Poulter exchanged birdies back and forth until Goosen finally won on the second playoff hole.

The field was finally trimmed to two players. Although it wasn’t the matchup many wanted, there was no shortage of great golf to be seen today. A total of 36 holes would decide the winner, which should provide more than enough time to sort out the true champion. Just how did Toms manage to severely trounce a player of DiMarco’s caliber?

Chrysler Classic: New Faces and Old Places

Geoff Ogilvy became the 14th first time winner at the Chrysler Classic of Tucson winning a playoff against Kevin Na.

Geoff OgilvyThe Chrysler Classic of Tucson has become the premier event for first time winners on the PGA Tour. Today, Australian Geoff Ogilvy joined the winners club thanks to his clutch performance on the second playoff hole. Ogilvy began the day tied for the lead along with Kevin Na, the youngest player on Tour. When regulation was over, three players were tied for the lead at -19. Ogilvy, Na, and veteran Mark Calcavecchia who battled for a round of 69 to get into the playoff.

On the first playoff hole, Calcavecchia found a fairway bunker and took two shots to finally escape netting a double bogey which took him out of the running for the title. This was Calcavecchia’s 26th time to place 2nd in a tournament. Ogilvy made par easily while Na scrambled to get up and down from the rough to save par and extend the playoff. The next hole was the par-5 10th. Both Na and Ogilvy missed the fairway and ended up in a grove of trees.

Accenture WGC Match Play Semi-Finals

And then there were two. Chris DiMarco gutted out a victory against Retief Goosen while David Toms dominated Ian Poulter to set the finals for the WGC Match Play.

Chris DiMarco and David TomsNo bracket could have predicted this outcome. How could just one top-seed make it through to the semi-finals? Although the dream match of Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t materialize, the semi-finals of the Accenture WGC World Match Play provided some memorable golf. The matches were set. The first match of the day would pit uber-conservative David Toms against bleach-blond, spiky-haired Ian Poulter. In the second match, Chris DiMarco a fiery competitor would take on Retief Goosen the stoic South African. Could there be any greater contrast in styles? So how did these fire and ice matches play out?

Chrysler Classic of Tucson Round 3

Leaders change by the day at this year’s Chrysler Classic. There are eight players within 4 strokes of the lead, it’s anyone’s tournament.

kevin_na.jpgYou better keep your eye on Kevin Na. He is the youngest player on the PGA tour but is getting used to feeling the weekend heat, finishing ahead of second round leader Calcavecchia. He finished tied for second at the FBR Open behind Phil Mickelson earlier this month and is showing maturity and poise against some great golfers this season. Na’s 7 under 65 was good enough to tie Geoff Ogilvy for today’s lead.

The PGA Tour is going to benefit greatly from young guns like Na breaking onto the scene and racking up wins early in their career. Look no further than the early years of Tiger’s career to prove what a boost young talent can be to the game of golf.

J-Ro Dances Through SBS Open

Jennifer Rosales won the SBS Open, but the big story is 15 year-old Michelle Wie who tied for second.

Jennifer RosalesThe LPGA kicked off the year with its first full-field event, the SBS Open. The final round concluded today and it was Jennifer Rosales who finished on top despite late round charges by both Michelle Wie and Cristie Kerr. Rosales finished the three round event with a final score of -9. J-Ro took advantage of optimal scoring conditions in the first round and jumped out to an early -7 lead. In the second and third rounds, the Hawaiian trade winds picked up and made scoring much more difficult. Rosales outlasted the competition thanks to rounds of 69 and 72 to seal her second victory on the LPGA Tour.

Although Rosales’s victory was big news, the spotlight was shining squarely on the youngsters. Paula Creamer made her first start as a professional on the LPGA Tour, and 15 year-old Michelle Wie made her second start since teeing it up with the men at the Sony Open.

Chrysler Classic of Tucson Round 2

Calcavecchia’s touch on the putting green puts him one stroke ahead of first round leader Mayfair.

chrysler_classic.gifThe Chrysler Classic in some people’s minds (perhaps mine) plays second fiddle to the Accenture WGC World Match Play. While that may or may not be true the Classic allows some less prominent figures on the PGA tour to strut their stuff as is proved by the occupants of the winner’s circle for the last five years: Carter, Willis, Leggatt, Lickliter and Slocum.

Today’s leader, Mark Calcavecchia, proved today that he can get the job done on the putting green. He two-putted from 65 feet for birdie on the par-5 10th, two-putted again from 30 feet at the second hole (having started on the back nine), drained a 23-footer for birdie at the fifth, and sunk a 37-footer for eagle at the par-5 eighth. With his solid performance on the putting green and lack of bogies Calcavecchia went to 15 under and moved into the lead.

Break 90 Without Changing Your Swing

Regularly in the 90’s? Lower your score without changing your swing.

It’s my fifth year playing golf and I’m ready for the season to begin. Currently, I have only one score in the 80s (an 84 at Dunwoodie Golf Course). Usually, I miss that “89” by a shot or two, scoring 90-92 regularly. I believe this is a mental block, so my goal, this season, is to score in the 80s every time.

Accenture WGC World Match Play Rounds 2 & 3

Friday was a day of sun and upsets at the Accenture WGC Match Play Championship.

goosen.jpgWhen Friday began at the World Match Play, the big news was that the tour would be able to complete two days of golf in a row without being interrupted by the rains that have been so oppressive over the last week in Southern California. By the end of the day, the big story changed from the beautiful weather to the huge upsets occurring throughout the day.

Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, and Davis Love III all were eliminated. Talk about busted brackets. Retief Goosen and Stewart Cink remain the only 1 and 2-seeds still alive.