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Ryder Cup : A Marshal’s Review #2 October 9, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.

So back to my Ryder Cup marshal’s experiences.

So having initially stood around and up-ed and down-ed the rope when the players and carts were coming across from the clubhouse to the range, we eventually had a meeting of sorts when the teams had gone out on the course. It started to go downhill from there really as we quickly realised that the majority of the marshal’s in our section all had done this before, were all on first name terms and seemed to have a pretty good idea of what was going to happen.

I personally was a bit wary of the head of our section who started giving out jobs left, right and centre and really looked like he didn’t have a clue either. As it turned out later in the week he was actually a nice chap and fairly clued in – as clued in as you could be when the teams didn’t really release their schedules and the mini-schedules they did release, didn’t keep to because of a number of factors. One got the feeling that we had to be standing within the bosses eyesight in order to get the good jobs when they haphazardly came up. That said, our main job was player transport. Nice !

Before that, we had to man some road crossings because the payout of the K Club meant that the 9th green for example, was a good 150 yards across a road and up through the practise range away from the 10th tee. At this early stage there were no barriers or ropes present and it was a very ad hoc situation. The marshal’s quickly realised that we would need barriers etc. for the players to cross the road but the organisation at that time was appalling. Enter Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, having just played the front 9. Consternation ensued because there was no dedicated walkway for the across the road where they could safely get to the next tee. We were hurriedly instructed by the US security guys accompanying the team to go 2 in front and 2 behind each one so every available marshal goes with Tiger ! Furyk turns to me and say “4 years of planning and all you guys have organised is this ? It has to be improved!” With that he walked over the fence into the practise area and made his way to the tee unaccompanied. How embarrassed was I and I wasn’t event at fault – looking around of course there was no senior marshal to be seen so a few of us got together, found some rope and made sure that the same thing didn’t happen again. Of course it did the following day, when there was no dedicated walk way from the practise range to the 10th tee for the European players. I had to drive Woosnam through the crowd towards the tee and when we couldn’t get any further because of the crowds (despite blowing the horn !) he had to take his life in his hands and run for it.

Driving a buggy around the K Club with Phil Mickelson or someone of that ilk in the front with me was a most pleasant job, I must say. I got to meet most of the players but didn’t personally drive Tiger around. He looked like he was having a bit of a hard time with the crowds and always travelled on the back of the buggies while the caddy rode in front. Our routine was whatever the player’s routine was and I enjoyed having to suddenly drop everything and take someone to the other end of the course or take an official or wife to somewhere. Sometimes it did get frustrating because we never knew what we had to do and there was, as one might expect, a wee bit of rivalry between marshals when the system didn’t allow each one to have a fair turn. That said by the end of the week, myself and my cousin had been treated fairly well (despite the €8 we got per day to feed ourselves at kiosks where everything was way more than €8 !) and had a good but tiring experience.



1. don - January 6, 2007

Just like to comment on what you have said about your experince at the ryder cup 2006. I my self was a player marshal and can remember you and our cousin at the occassion. I do agree that there were many problems and pitfalls during the frist few days. For the english marshals that were player cares the most of them were ex-militrity personal. overall it was a great experince and one that i wont forget.

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