Monday, October 19, 2015

Fear And Frying In Napa

Last week was a busy week. I was property of the PGA Tour. No, I didn't play in a tournament, but I was inside the ropes.
This was my second year volunteering for the Open in Napa. It's the first event of the 2015/16 season. I meant to write a post about it last year, but I was so exhausted from the week, I didn't get around to it. I posted most of my thoughts on Twitter. (@skipcastaneda on Twitter)
This year was much easier since I knew what I was doing. Last year I was a fish out of water.
Last year my role was being a marshall on the 16th hole. This year I was moved to the 17th hole. It's was a par 4, 375 yards.
The role of the marshall is quite easy, but you must focus. We had various assingments. We would rotate to the tee box, the gallery gates, the landing area and the green. There was always something going on around us. There were times when not much of anything was happening at our hole. The biggest lag in time was the time in between the morning group and afternoon group.
The biggest name to appear this year was Rory McIllroy. He drew the largest galleries. After he went through, the golf course was empty.
There were groups with names such David Toms, Rory Sabatini and Angel Cabrera who had no one following them. There were also no names with no one following them.
This year was different. Last year the golfers interacted with us volunteers more. This year, not at all. As a matter of fact, this year was work.
I'm not complaining, I'll volunteer again, but this year had a different vibe to it. I'm guessing the contestants took it as a serious tournament this year.
The final day saw a two hole playoff with Emilliano Grillo taking home the trophy and the winners check. I got a chance to offer my congratulations to him. It was nice to connect with a first time PGA Tour winner. It was also nice to shake hands with a newly minted millionaire.
After the awards ceremony, it was time to go home. I wanted to stay longer. Just soak up the energy left behind after a busy week. But it was time to go. Speaking of moving on, Fry's announced they are moving on. In 2016, the tournament will be known as the Safeway Open. I work for a competing grocery chain. I'll go back to volunteer, but I won't wear the gear.
I eventually made it to the front gate and waited for a shuttle to take me to my car. There was a long delay. I decided to walk. It was hard to walk away. I didn't want the week to end.

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