Our mission was to get inside the ropes, meet hundreds of fans, interact with PGA staff, members of the media, players, caddies, and most importantly, play a part in providing local charities with a helping hand.
Taking place for the past six years in the Tri-state area, the Barclays only has eight staff members, but they bring on over 1,800 volunteers to make the tournament one huge charitable donation of over $1 million to various foundations. I would be one of those 1,800, and what a thrill it was to be a part of such a fantastically upbeat and charged up group of volunteers!
I spent five days working as a marshal inside the ropes, helping to usher players, signal lost balls and provide information to fans. I also had the opportunity to walk a few holes with players' groups to provide extra stability and security for players. A particular thrill was walking up the 18th on Sunday with Tiger Woods' group.
Over the course of our 40+ hours of volunteer work, I met some great fans and learned a lot about what it takes to brand and host a golf tournament. From the hundreds of kiosks and temporary buildings that are built up and broken down on a weekly basis, to the countless hours of course preparation with deco and branded items, PGA Tour events are amongst the most complex special events in sports.
To put it all in perspective, one morning when I took a volunteer shuttle from a volunteer parking lot to the volunteer center, where free food, Coke, Powerade, coffee and shelter was provided for volunteers, I struck up a conversation with an 85-year-old military retiree who was also, you guessed it, volunteering. As the bus rolled into the main parking lot, we started talking about the copious amounts of back-stage tents, medical personnel, and other temporary buildings that made the tournament possible.
"When I was in the military, I was in charge of feeding over 15,000 men every day," he said. "It was tremendously important work, and a huge job, but we had nothing this big. They do an amazing job here. It's good to see it."
In the end, Adam Scott's solid round stymied off Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Gary Woodland and secured his second PGA Tour victory of the season. With the win at The Barclays, and his win at the Masters in April, 2013 has become a magical year for Adam Scott. It's the 33-year-old Aussie's first time winning more than one event in a single season since 2004, when Scott became the youngest player ever to win The Players Championship at just 23 years of age.