VIDEO: Thousands of volunteers gather in Tulsa to help PGA Championship
TULSA, Okla. – Three thousand volunteers will work alongside PGA staff at Southern Hills next week to make the championship a success.
Friday is uniform and credential drop-off day according to Kenny Martin, director of volunteer operations for the championship. People are arriving from all over the region and even from out of state to pick up their volunteer packages.
Mother Nature decided to throw everyone a curve ball on Friday morning when bad weather made it dangerous for all volunteers to move around the Southern Hills golf course for several hours.
When a lightning delay kept volunteers on the buses longer than expected in the Maybee Center parking lot, driver Scott Henderson had an idea:
“They said you could always put a movie on and I said well I’ve got a few, I don’t know if you’d like them,” he said, “these are Christmas movies , it’s better than nothing.”
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Passengers on another bus were treated to Starbucks, compliments of a fellow volunteer.
Another passenger, Mike Johnson of Tahlequah, quickly became the envy of his bus after passengers learned his volunteer assignment was as a hole marshal on the 18th hole.
“It’s the best seat in the house,” he replied when we asked him what he thought of his mission next week.
Friday is the presentation of uniforms and credentials on the South Hills for the 3,000 volunteers who will help ensure the PGA Championship takes place next week.
“Everyone sees the marshals,” explained Kenny Martin, volunteer operations manager for the championship. “But we do, we have committees tying and tying the whole golf course, so when you’re sitting behind the rope line, it’s all been done by volunteers. When you watch on CBS or ESPN and see there’s 140 yards left on that shot, a volunteer gets that distance and actually feeds it into the production trucks.
Volunteers who pay just over $200 to play a part in the PGA Championship also receive plenty of goodies, including two shirts, a jacket, a hat, a bottle of water, and food and water vouchers. .
Volunteers can also attend the event when not working. Volunteer spots filled up quickly.
Martin says it’s about being part of the experience:
“These people love being involved, being behind the scenes, seeing all the different areas of the course and feeling like they helped put these championships together.”
People like Heather and Quentin Pannell from Bentonville, Arkansas, who will be returning next week with their RVs to volunteer.
“It’s great,” said Quentin, “I came to the 1994 PGA Championship with my dad years ago, and the opportunity to come back to Southern Hills is incredible.”
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