Sunday, October 13th
Going in to today's final round, Russ Cochran is in the lead. The leader after two rounds has gone on to win the tournament in seven of the last 12 years. Let's see if it will be eight of 13!
This morning, I watched a few groups play the first tee. I asked some of them if they ever notice any volunteering The First Tee participants. They all answered that they see The First Tee members at most tournaments they go to. It's great to hear that more people want to join The First Tee each day.
I met with the chair of caddie services and he explained that each day the pairings are issued and they have to get the caddie bibs ready to go. They wash the bibs every night and at the SAS championship the caddies in each group get assigned bib edged in a different color so that the television producers can tell who they are from a distance. The leader of the Charles Schwab cup gets a solid yellow bib, like in the Tour de France. I also spoke with a caddie who had been on the PGA tour for 6 months. He said being a caddie was hard work but was a good job to have.
I was looking for the trophy all morning, and finally found it at the tournament office. I met with Ms. Morgan who had just set it up and I even had my picture taken with it! Octagon is the tournament producer and they are on site for several weeks before the event getting all the details squared away. The producer will still be here for at least another week tearing it down and settling up.
Later, I met with Tony Membini, who writes everything on the score board with a really neat calligraphy. He has been a scoreboard manager for eighteen years now. He had this unique way of writing but he sees it as a curse, since he's the only one writes that way at the club. Therefore, it's his job to write on nearly 121 scoreboards a year. He attributes his good handwriting to the years that his mother had him and his siblings practice their handwriting every day for an hour...it has paid off.
I also met with EJ, the Cart Service Manager. He explained how the carts are prepared for the golfers each day, which includes cleaning them and stocking them with towels, water, ice and sand (for replacing divots)
Hendricks Auto Dealer supplies vehicles for all the players while they are here for the tournament. After another awesome lunch, I walked the course again with my dad who shared a lot of his knowledge about the golfers we were watching.
This was my first opportunity to serve as a junior course reporter for The First Tee of the Triangle and I was a little bit nervous. This year marked the 13th annual SAS Championship at the Prestonwood Country Club. Six of the players were from North Carolina.
Chic-Fil-A sponsored over 1000 meals for the volunteers Friday to Saturday and Penn Station sponsored the volunteer meals on Sunday.
Over the week the chefs used over the equivalent of 5000 eggs, 1000 lbs of meat and 200 pineapples. with so much food being prepared and consumed, I wondered what happened to the food that wasn't eaten. The fruit and the salads are reused the next day or are given to staff. Because of concerns about cross contamination much of the hot prepared foods are given to staff, cafeteria, or thrown away, although depending on what it is, might be given to the Helping Hands program in Durham to help the needy.
I hope that next year's junior course reporter checks out my blog entries. I would suggest that they review the press kit available on the SAS championship website. Once they get their credentials, get to know everyone in the Media center and ask them for suggestions on where to go. Have a plan for each day so you don't try to do it all. Check out all of the trucks, but remember that there are good times to visit and get information and there are some bad times (they are working). everyone that I interviewed gave me a suggestion of who else I could talk with. Some even helped out by setting up times for me to go visit other people. Everyone that was working the championship was really helpful. remember that the pros are focused on playing golf and may not be as accessible as you would like. Make sure to sit in the end of play interviews and get a copy of the transcript of the interviews. Listen to what is going on around you!
I would like to thank Brandon and The First Tee of the Triangle for this opportunity and appreciate all the help I received from Mallory, Kathleen, Philip, Doug, Stuart, Greg, Julie, Danielle, Morgan, EJ and a whole bunch of people that I have probably missed.
Like Neal Lancaster said in his interview -- Prestonwood has some of the best food on the tour...a special thanks to the chefs and servers in the club house!
and the winner is...check out The Golf channel for continuing coverage of the SAS championship and the Schwab Cup!
Saturday, October 12th
As I was leaving the SAS championship yesterday, I stopped by the food trucks, which were just setting up for business. I was still full from the lunch in the Preston wood country clubhouse. I bought a couple of cupcakes from the Sweet Traditions by LeAne cupcake trailer and will be on the lookout for the American Meltdown truck...the owners told me that they offer the very BEST grilled cheese sandwiches
I started my day today with an 8:00 appointment to get the low down on the scoring systems. I met with Ms. Julia, who handles most of the equipment for the scoreboard, and has been working with scoreboards for thirteen years. She showed me a Trimble which the walking scores use to keep track of where the ball goes on he course each time some one on the course makes a swing. That information is sent back to the command station and stats are updated automatically. If something doesn't sound right they call out to verify the information. Even though they do that electronically, the players are still the official score keepers and once they are done, they compare their cards with the data taken by the walking score keeper. She then showed me the generators they use to power the scoreboards.
Today was Family Fun Day and there was a Blue 5k race. A lot of people were in the race. I even saw Coach Tony running! Blue Cross Blue shield was sponsoring the run. The 5k run benefited the YMCA of the Triangle.
After breakfast, I went outside to the 10th hole and met with Mr. Timothy, who was the announcer for the Tenth hole. Like Philip, he too was dressed in nickers and a tie. I asked him, "Are you dressed like this to emulate Philip?" His answer was, "No, Philip dresses to emulate me." He was really funny and nice to talk to.
Later, I walked around the course and spoke with Greg, one of the camera people. He let me put on all the gear and actually work the camera! After that, the cameraman showed us to the compound, where people manage the course. Every day after tournament play is ended they go out and tend to the tee boxes, fairways and greens. In the morning the rules committee tells them where they need to put the holes for the days...they move them every day. I also met with the production assistant, Danielle, who took me on a tour through all the audio and video trucks. I also learned that all the broadcasting, everyone at the compound is using, is made in Orlando and is then transmitted through a satellite to here. the production manager Lauri was out trying to determine if they would be photographing the trophy today or tomorrow...or using last years' photo.
On the way back in I stopped to say hi to my friends, Quinn, Adam, and Homza.... From The First Tee's Eagle and Ace programs who were serving as Honorary Starters for the day.
After another awesome lunch, I spent the afternoon walking the course and watching different groups of players. I had my umbrella, but luckily didn't need to use it. Hopefully Stuart can get the weather to cooperate for tomorrow's round!
Friday, October 11th
My name is Jared A. Cross, a freshman at the Wake Young Men's Leadership Academy in Raleigh. I am the junior course reporter at the 2013 SAS Championship for the First Tee of the Triangle. I have been with the First Tee for nine years. Since then, I have learned many different life skills from the First Tee. That is why it's an honor to be writing this blog about my experience at the SAS Championship as a junior course reporter.
On Thursday morning, I went to the Prestonwood Country Club for the first Tee Breakfast. The panel included Hal Irwin, Brad Faxon and Mike Goodes, a North Carolina native who played with Amanda Levy at Pebble Beach. As we were having breakfast, some speakers came up to talk about The First Tee of the Triangle. One of the speakers, who's speech really stood out to me, was Mr. David. He was my The First Tee advanced Par and Birdie instructor in Garner. He gave a speech about how being a single father, him and his son have been through a lot together. He spoke about life skills and never giving up in life. When he was finished with his speech, I personally stood up and gave him a standing ovation. I have known him for a long time, both as a coach and a very good friend. Following the breakfast I went to the Media center to get my credentials for the tournament. My media pass would get me into all areas of the tournament.
It 's Friday, the first round and I am already having a lot of fun being a junior course reporter. Today was the first I have ever tweeted, and apologize if I tweeted too much, it was just really exciting! Out on the course, I got to shake hands with golfers, like Mike Goodes, before they were teeing off on the first hole. All of the golfers I've met are very nice. I'm really excited to be interviewing them soon. There were also a lot of cool activities like "Reevaluate your swing," blood cholesterol checks, and NASCAR and Pinehurst tournament raffles. There were also other members of The First Tee volunteering at the SAS Championship, whom I recognized. They all seemed as enthusiastic about the the SAS Championship as I was.
While exploring, I went into the Conditioning Truck. There, I met physical therapists who help golfers with conditioning treatments before they play on the course. I then went into the Strength and Endurance Truck, which is pretty much a portable gym for the golfers. There was a lot of equipment in there, like bar bells, benches, and there were also red shoes in the truck, in case any of the players came and forgot their own workout shoes.
During lunch, I interviewed Philip Morrisette, the SAS Championship announcer of all the golfers. He has been a golf tournament announcer for thirteen years. when the SAS Championship started, 13 years ago, he volunteered to be the chair if the starters Committee, with the hopes of being the starting announcer. If he got the job, he would wear nickers and a tie. However, someone else had already been given that job. the week before the tournament Philip received a call that the current announcer of the tournament had to go into surgery. So, Philip was asked to replace the speaker. After that week, the previous speaker was never seen again by the tournament and Philip became the new, official announcer for the SAS Championship. What I found very interesting about Philip is that he stood me in all his life, he has never been nervous while speaking in front of an audience.His favorite speaker is Zig Ziegler, and his favorite book by Ziegler is "See You at the Top." He was such a nice person to talk to, Philip and I could have talked for hours.
Near the end of the first day of the tournament, I went into the Weather Truck and spoke to one of the tournaments' main meteorologists, Stuart. He had computers that showed me that today there would be low sprinkling off the coast. He also has his own forecast, so if it shows lightning ten minutes the predicted due time, he would alert everyone, and the golfers would be evacuated off the course. All the technology he had looked very impressive and accurate with the weather.
I was in the media center working on my blog, when news came in that Sir Nick Faldo withdrew because he had injured his elbow. I had gotten to shake his hand only an hour before. there was a gasp from all those in the Media center who heard it over the radio...then the news came and confirmed it.
It was a great day and the food was really great. Speaking of food, it is Food Truck Friday...must go investigate and report my findings tomorrow!