The First Tee Course Reporters

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The First Tee Course Reporters stop for a photo Wednesday at East Lake.
September 21, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011

Day two starts with a drive right down the middle By Ahmad Williams

Day two at the TOUR Championship was excellent. What really started off the day was when my great friend Kayla McClendon hit the ceremonial tee shot straight down the middle of the smooth, light green fairway. I will admit, I was scared for Kayla, but as always, she pulls it off. John Flaschner, or Flash as he goes by, was also a big help today. We met a lot of new people, got to shake hands and thank the Marines for serving our country. After the ceremonial tee shot we saw Bo Van Pelt, who rocketed his first shot right into the trees, while Fredrik Jacobson soars his ball in the middle of the left side of the fairway.

My favorite part of the day was when Gary Galloway interviewed all of the First Tee Course Reporters and said that well be in his next volunteer newsletter. After that we went to go and see the PGA TOUR rules officials. Mark Dusbabek was the rule official that always had a game plan. Mark was a smart man that had many talents including being pro football player as a linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings.

Finally, my favorite part of the day was the workout trailer. We got to see how the pros workout and what they do to get there golf game better. Learning that pros do a lot of core workouts really surprised me, and I mean a lot!

Walking the course, waiting for Phil By Tyler Hampton

After breakfast the group and I had walked to the trailer named ShotLink. I learned how they get the scores out on the course. Sean Howland was thorough in describing how the wires on the course tell them where the players hit their ball. This was interesting, because Sean mentioned that there was a red laser on the fairway that tells them where the ball lands as soon as it hits the ground. The cords were intertwined deeply all over the truck, which made it easy to figure out what was connected to what.

Around 11 a.m., the big moment began. Mr. Charlie Yates Jr. and Kayla McClendon launched the TOUR Championship by pounding their tee shots into the fairway, which was a nice way to start. The Marines performed beautifully in front of the crowd with songs that I couldn't remember, but I hummed to their performance anyway. I then began to walk to various holes waiting for my favorite golf player to tee off, Phil Mickelson.

We then walked over to the rules official truck next to the meteorologist truck. In there we met the retired NFL football player Mr. Mark Dusbabek. He gave advice saying, "think about what you want to be or where you want to be in 10 years, and don't limit your planning." Shout out to Mr. Mark, and Mr. Greg Butterfield.

Alexis took us to the fitness trailer where we learned how the players work out before and after their matches. Some go stretch, and some just do exercises to pump their muscles and uncoil their pains. The second day of this tournament was wonderful, and I would like to give a shout out to Coach Jeff for being such a good friend, and role model.

From lasers to fitness, inside the tournament By Christopher Dewberry

Today marked the second day of our adventure at the golf course. Before we went onto the field, we all decided to eat breakfast. After our breakfast we went down to the ShotLink trailer where we met Sean Howland. Sean told us about how they have lasers on the holes and how they can determine stats for a player. Sean Howland also told us about how they have a website were we could see the scores online. We left in the nick of time and we saw the opening ceremony where Kayla McClendon and Charley Yates Jr. made the first ceremonial drives down the course. We were amazed as the balls flew through the air and as the crowd clapped and cheered.

After that we walked along to see Mark Dusbabek, where he told us about what his job was as a rules official and what he does. In the trailer we talked about his life in the NFL and how he decided to work in the golf business. We also learned about how rules are constantly changed and tweaked.

A little while later we went to the Fitness trailer and met Digby Watt who explained to us what his job was and how he helps the golfers stretch out and get ready for golf matches. I think his job is important because he keeps golfers that we admire from getting hurt.

Reinforcing the lessons of The First Tee By Davis Turner

Today marked the start of the FedExCup. Walking into the media center I noticed muscular men and women wearing black around the media center, I am told that these people in black will be jumping out of a plane; I cannot hold back my excitement. I imagine these jumpers smoothly guiding across the sky and before making impact with the ground, performing outlandish tricks. Even though the weather prevented the jumps, it was still cool to talk to the jumpers and hear what they do.

Gary Galloway, who asked us each questions about the First Tee, then interviewed us. He asked us what the First Tee has done for us, and what we plan on doing in the future. It felt like we were getting the VIP treatment, I am not going to lie, it felt nice. Once we left for the opening ceremony we were bombarded by photographers, wanting to get our pictures. With every flash I became more energetic and electrified.

The opening ceremony was a big success, Mr. Charlie Yates Jr. hitting the first drive of the tournament. While the second drive of the tournament, was hit by Kayla McClendon, a personal friend of mine. I was anxious when she got up to hit the drive, because I know she was under tremendous amount of pressure. Kayla proved that I had no need to worry, because she hit that ball like a pro. After the balls had reached the fairway I gave thanks to all of those who had given service, because of their dedication and grave sacrifices. I even got a few pictures with them, and when asked why they always had a serious facial expression with each flash, they explained, "We are supposed to be tough."

Rules, rules, and more rules; meeting Mark Dusbabek, who is apart of the rules committee, we discussed the ways rules are carried out and are changed, for the perpetually evolving game of golf. Mark also talked to us about his pro football career, and after that he told us to always plan ahead. What Mark said reminded me of what the First Tee has instilled in me; to always set up little goals for yourself, and to bring your major goal into fruition. After our meeting with Mark, we headed out to watch players play and could definitely see the crowd favorites. One favorite included Phil Mickelson, who we followed for awhile, but Phil didn't seem to mind he had a lot of followers.

Towards the end of the day we talked to Digby Watt, who gives physical therapy to all the players. I found it interesting the different injuries players have and found it even more interesting that most of the injuries players receive are off the golf course. Once we had finished talking with Digby, I gave thought about my experience being a junior reporter for the first Tee. I am thankful to be given this opportunity and to get a taste of the media experience; I have learned a lot. Being apart of this program only strengthens my willingness and conviction to support this program, the PGA TOUR, the Players, everybody involved from the small venders to the president, the game of golf, my community, and the First Tee.

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011

Getting a behind the scenes look at a PGA TOUR event By Tyler Hampton

Today was extremely pleasant for me. I walked the course at East Lake Country Club and met several PGA TOUR players who are in this tournament. Of course I tried to get autographs, but it wasn't just the right time. Matt Kuchar was gingerly deep with his answers at the interview, I took in some of what he talked about, but most importantly I understood his situation. He said, "My wife limits my off course time." This was funny to me because I thought he had plenty of time to do activities with his family. But he also stated that he hopes entertaining won't affect his game. I agree with him all the way.

Geoff Ogilvy was a very entertaining and funny fellow to be a golf player. I really enjoyed hearing about the time when he ditched school and cut the fence to the Victoria Golf Club. He made jokes to keep the excitement on point while still keeping plain and simple by just answering our questions. Geoff mentioned numerous times how hole 18 of East Lake was hard, and how you had to hit your first shot into the fairway or you were going to have a hard time making par. I've never been to hole 18, but from what the players said, I think I would want to just keep it safe all though that hole.

The TaylorMade truck was my favorite part of the day. I couldn't wait to learn how those splendid clubs were produced to perfection and how long it took for them to be made. Mr. Wade Liles was the main man of the truck. Think of the truck as heaven. The materials and how the truck was set up were divine. This was a day to remember and I will cherish what I have seen for life. I would like to give a shout out to my Mom, Reon, and my grandmother, Jean, as well as to Webb Simpson for acting like a friend for the 30 seconds that we talked.

Two player interviews, trip to TaylorMade truck, highlight day one By Ahmad Williams

Today was the day of my golf dreams. The first day at the TOUR Championship was pretty slow since it was a practice round. The first thing that really stuck out to me was being able to talk and interview two PGA TOUR players, Matt Kuchar and Geoff Ogilvy. As we sat down and listened to Matt, there was nothing but silence. His answers were kind of hard to relate to since I wasn't a professional golfer, but I got what he was saying. Now, Geoff, on the other hand, was very funny and talked about his personal life a lot.

My favorite part of the day was the TaylorMade truck. When you walk into the truck, you'd think that you were in the future. All the doors are automatic, and there are crème white driver heads hanging over your head. As I watched TaylorMade Wade, (Wade Liles) construct a golf club in front of us, I thought he had one of the best jobs in the world because he makes good money, gets to meet and make golf clubs for PGA TOUR players, and gets new clubs every year specially made for him. What I really learned while I was inside the truck is that people who are a part of the PGA TOUR are just like us. Everybody was playing on the PlayStation 3 and just having fun.

Threat of rain doesn't dampen first day at East Lake By Davis Turner

The wake-up call is bright and early; the sky is cloudy. "I hope it doesn't rain!" can be heard echoing from down the fairway. Despite the chance of showers, I saw a lot of excitement imprinted on everyone I saw in the media center. Walking behind the ropes into the media center, seeing the interview schedules, the large number of people typing, staff in their carts talking on their walkie talkie's, and people hustling from one place to another, it's like a circus. It's organized chaos and that's what makes it so much fun! That's the reason you get up in the morning and a chance to win $10 million doesn't hurt either.

Once we left the media center we all went to the interviewing room and that's where I saw Matt Kuchar. I sat down with my notepad and pencil in hand, staring at the No. 5-ranked player. He seemed openly optimistic about the chances of being No. 1, that being his main goal. Matt expressed how honored he was to be playing for the FedExCup, which has been won by people like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk. What these players seem to have done validate the system for Matt. When asked about the possibility of winning the FedExCup without actually winning the tournament, he laughed and talked about bringing the $10 million to the Royal Bank of Canada.

My next interview was with a man named Geoff Ogilvy, who talked about the appeal of the FedExCup being the carrot dangling at the end, whether they need it or not. Geoff went on to tell us reporters about his hilarious antics as a child, as he sought out for the game he loved. Without a doubt, Geoff seemed to be motivated by the game of golf. So much so, that if the game was suddenly put on prohibition, I could imagine him being one of the first people to pick up his clubs, most notably his 5 iron, and play 18 holes.

After the interviews, we talked to Billy Schroeder, who handles player relations. I found his job one of the most exciting parts about the game of golf; he gets to hang around the players all day long. In a way I am a little jealous because he gets to establish real relationships with the players, and in the back of my mind I can see him having barbecues with Bubba Watson and other TOUR players. Mr. Schroeder's information on the workings of the business aspect of the game was incredibly informative. One lesson that I personally learned from the way he spoke is to always be nice and to always give back.

Stewart Williams has an important job, a job so important that it could be the difference between a successful tournament or an electrocuted, roasted player. Mr. Williams' job is to monitor the weather, and due to the chance of thunder storms, he was keeping an eye on everything.

I truly value the experience I was given, and since it was only the first day, I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow. Things surrounding the FedExCup are a circus, and I am definitely going to come back for more.

Wednesday blog: Meeting the guys I usually see on TV By Christopher Dewberry

Today was a fantastic day filled with fun and getting to go behind the scenes of the wonderful game of golf. This was a day of learning, meeting new people, and learning about the game of golf that many people don't know about. My fellow course reporters and I walked around in awe as we saw many TOUR players whom we usually see on TV. With so many things to do, we started off with an interview with Matt Kuchar and Geoff Ogilvy in a interview room.

Matt answered our questions whole-heartedly, telling us about his background and how he became good in golf. He also told us what he was working toward and what he believes he can accomplish. I thought this interview was cool because it reminded me that professionals always have goals to be better and as a junior golfer, I should always set goals to make me a better golfer. Our second interview was with Geoff Ogilvy, who was serious-looking but was a funny guy. He also answered all the questions we had for him. Geoff was asked a lot of questions about his team and whom he was tempted to pick. He also told us about his life and how he used to "jump the fences" and skip school to watch golf in his younger years. I found this interview interesting because many people don't know golfers have teams/groups.

Soon after we met Billy Schroder, who is the PGA TOUR's player relations representative. His job is to have a relationship with the different players. He told us about how the PGA TOUR, the television companies, and the sponsors all work together to benefit the community. He also told us about his background and about how important it was that the different companies and PGA TOUR have an agreement so golf can be transmitted not only through TV but through other technologies, such as the Internet. I believe that Billy Schroder 's job is not only important, but it is also an amazing job. I believe it would be cool to meet all of the professional players and get to talk to them all one on one.

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REPORTER BIOGRAPHIES

DAVIS TURNER First Tee of Atlanta

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Seventeen year-old Davis Turner is a 10-year participant in The First Tee of Atlanta. He attends the Howard School in Atlanta, where he participates in varsity golf, basketball and track and field; lettered in four varsity sports; and has led his school to three division golf championship awards. Davis is All Conference and MVP in track and field and basketball, where he is also co-captain. Davis will soon be an Eagle Scout (BSA) and has performed his Eagle community service project at the John A. White Golf Course. In 2010, Davis was the standard bearer at the PGA of America tournament and looks forward to his role as a 2011 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola Jr. Course Reporter.

CHRISTOPHER DEWBERRY First Tee of Atlanta

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Christopher Dewberry is a four-year participant in The First Tee of Atlanta at John A. White. He is 15 years old and a sophomore at Whitefield Academy. Last year, he played on the varsity golf team and plays saxophone for his school's marching band. Dewberry is certified at the Birdie level in The First Tee program at John A. White and appreciates the opportunity to learn, play and have a passion for the game. His other interests are swimming, watching sports and hanging out with his family and friends. He also enjoys volunteering with his youth community group called Youth Leadership for Global Health, whose focus is health awareness and disease prevention.

TYLER HAMPTON First Tee of East Lake

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Fifteen year-old Tyler Hampton is a six-year participant in The First Tee of East Lake. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia, with his mom and twin sister, Danielle. He is involved in JROTC, and is very excited about the opportunities that could result after his high school career. Hampton is certified at the Birdie level in The First Tee program and credits it for giving him numerous opportunities to grow and develop through the mentorship of his coach, Nyree Williams. Tyler's interests include reading, drawing, basketball, soccer, and of course, golf!

AHMAD WILLIAMS The First Tee of Eastlake

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Fourteen year-old Ahmad William is currently in 9th grade attending Salem High School in Conyers, GA. His favorite subjects are creative writing and math. He currently holds a 3.6 grade point average and his biggest passion is playing golf. He was introduced to the game of golf six years ago through The First Tee of Eastlake. Since then he has learned many lessons from The First Tee of Eastlake as well as life skills and golf skills that continue to help him grow and develop into a young man.

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