Mark Richards


Friday, August 19, 2005

2005 PGA Championship

The last two weeks are the busiest time of the year for all of us As Robert has written about, the development, updates, and site monitoring that goes along with being the primary source for the 2005 PGA Championship can be quite stressful. Long hours and crazy requests define the work for which we are ultimately are responsible. Luckily for me, all the negatives related to this hectic time were far outweighed by the fact that I got to attend the event and experience, firsthand, the production of a major golf event.

This was my first ever golf event and I had the opportunity to experience it in style. Since I was there with work, I was provided media credentials which allows access inside the ropes and to different areas that the public is barred from. I felt all important when I flashed my badge and walked through the ropes to a place where not all could venture leaving the commoners to wonder, "who's that guy?". Rock star, baby!

While I did not have the chance to watch more than a couple of hours of play (work, work, work), what I did see was amazing! Anybody that has played golf knows that the game is not even remotely as easy as the pros make it look. But when you see it in person, that feeling is magnified. My favorite shot (that I saw in person) was not actually a great golf shot. I was standing at the rope by the 17th green waiting for John Daly to take his second shot from the rough. As he swung and the ball left his club, I immediately lost the ball. The guy next then said, "It's coming right toward us!" I ducked into a defensive position (I am man enough to admit it) and the ball landed right in front of me a mere 10 feet away. I was then in perfect position to watch him take his third shot, which he flopped onto the green. Right place, right time for me.

The main purpose of my trip was to experience a golf event and all of its intricacies and my boss did an excellent job accomplishing that. He took me around to various "behind the scenes" locations to meet people and get a feel for everything involved. Upon my arrival, it did not take long for cool shit to start happening. Within in the first minute of stepping out of the media center, we walked past 2004 Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer in the parking lot. I did a double take because it was very unexpected and I had just spent a bunch of time working on the 2004 Ryder Cup site, of which he was such a large part.

The non-play-related highlights of the event continued from there and they were aplenty. Surely I have forgotten a few things, but I was ten feet from a Tiger Woods interview (I could have asked a question, but obviously I am not qualified to do so), I watched the TV crew put together the streaming video broadcast for AOL inside the Turner Sports truck, I sat in on the Phil Mickelson post-victory interview in the media center, and I was ten feet from Luke Donald at the driving range inside the ropes. I never would have had the chance to experience all this as a fan.

I have become a HUGE golf fan over the last two years because of work and as I have picked up playing the game. But now I have a new appreciation for golf. Not just the ease with which the pros play the game, but for the game itself. The guys on the Tour are just regular guys. They do not act like superstars or come across like that in person. Organizing and running a golf event the magnitude of the PGA Championship is simply mind-boggling, and I loved every minute of it. People could read the excitement on my face when recalling the time I had. I felt much better about my job afterwards.

I hope I have the chance to experience more events like the 2005 PGA Championship.


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