The First Tee Course Reporters at Bethpage

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The First Tee Junior Course Reporters were at Bethpage, where Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods played together.
August 22, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

The First Tee Junior Course Reporters will be sharing their observations from Bethpage State Park Black Course this week during The Barclays. Here are their submissions from Thursday, Aug. 23:

Kayla Jackson From long spectator walks following top-ranked PGA TOUR players to gaining an understanding of the importance of multimedia forums, it is sad to announce my journey at The Barclays has come to an end.

Lauren Teague, social media manager for the PGA TOUR, is responsible for instantaneous communication with casual, novice, and committed fans. Prioritizing who's "hot" during the season, and informing fans about tournament play is the fundamental aspect of her occupation.

My team was able to witness this news live on and off the course. Stu Nicol, vice president of Broadcasting and Programming on the PGA TOUR, and his crew partnered with CBS Sports and Golf Channel to bring viewers live action of Thursday's event. Developing a strong interest in golf and reading through his mother's influence, Nicol discovered his passion for writing at a young age. While attending journalism school in 1978, he soon became the print reporter and editor of the Toronto Star, gradually earning positions at TSN and ESPN by 1990. Soon thereafter, he was covering major events such as the Masters, the Ryder Cup and The Barclays. "Write what you know, know what you mean, and write what you mean to say," the print journalist stated earnestly. In his words, this was the "best advice" he could share with young people such as myself, trying to identify and utilize their passion for writing.

Consistency, persistence and promptness seemed to be the themes of the day. A typical day consisted of current event updates on social networking sites, tournament play, and production rooms with live coverage. It appeared that the primary concern for the media coordinators here was the importance of developing a following, providing access, and building a relationship with golf fans across the country.

Although our journey is over, I commend all of the individuals that took the time to put this program together, volunteers, and The Barclays coordinators for making this an invaluable and notable experience.

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Winifred Shen On Day 2 as a reporter at The Barclays, we had talked to the PGA TOUR social media manager and met with the meteorologist, saw PGA TOUR golfers at the holes, and met with a vice president of broadcasting and programming. We got the experience of what it's like to be in the crowds of people that are also watching golf live right in front of them. I learned that there is a huge difference between watching golf tournaments on television and watching the PGA TOUR players play right in front of your eyes.

The PGA TOUR social media manager works on posting tweets and comments on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites. They would post stuff that the fans of the players would want to know about at the tournament. With the meteorologists, we got to understand more about their job and how they predict whether or not to tell the players to go to the clubhouse if lightning might appear.

The meteorologist has equipment that can show them the charge of a lightning happening before the lightning strikes. Our last interview was with the vice president of the broadcasting and programming. He took us behind the scenes with CBS Sports and how the screening is done and put through on air to your television.

When walking to different posts to where we were going to have an interview, we watched golf players such as Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlory, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Carl Pettersson, Vijay Singh, Jeff Overton, and Charles Howell III. It was a different feeling as we watched these players play and hit their balls right in front of us.

It doesn't matter if they are at the tee or the putting green, you can feel the excitement of the crowds. It is far different when you are watching golf at home. It is the feeling of having a pro player play unimaginable golf for amateur players.

As I was blogging this piece, I met with a media relations director, who was actually sitting on my seat as we returned from the interviews. It was like an additional interview I had that wasn't planned on the schedule. He is the one that gets up close and personal with the golf players during an interview; what he calls, "media training." This is because he talks to the players about what questions the interviewer would be asking, and gets the player comfortable for the interview. Over the years, he has developed a close relationship with golf players like, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Elis and Tiger Woods.

I would like to thank Rachel Newman, The First Tee, Kayla Jackson, and the people we interviewed.

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-- Wednesday, Aug. 22 --

Winifred Shen First day at The Barclays and met a lot of interesting people. From the PGATOUR.COM Chief Correspondents Helen Ross to the PGA TOUR fitness trainer, to a baby shower called Operation Shower, to the news conferences, and ending the day at the Callaway trailer.

For the PGA TOUR fitness trainer, we went inside two trailers that are both for players to train physically and have treatment for any problems they are having with their body. The physical trainer there says the most common treatment needed is the players' back, shoulder, and hips. What the players usually work on is their balance and hips, but not so much on their strength.

At the news conferences, there were interviews with Rory McIlory, Tiger Woods, and Keegan Bradley. Questions were asked about their golf and their interactions with other players that will be playing, their experiences when playing at other tournaments and on The Barclays Bethpage Black golf course. At the Callaway Trailer, it is where most of the clubs from Callaway are being fixed, but only for the PGA TOUR. This includes club adjustment, and the cutting of shafts and the heads of the iron, wedges, and other heads. It's kind of like a mobile repair car for golf. The trailer is also like a test room, since they make the clubs and give them to the players to test out. If it works then the club can be sold to the consumers.

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Kayla Jackson This stimulating day at The Barclays Pro-Am at Bethpage Black Course consisted of star-studded news conferences, profound military supporting baby showers, and in-depth colloquies with expert individuals.

Helen Ross, Chief of Correspondents, at PGATOUR.COM discussed her career determining experience, as a senior sports writer at the Greensboro News & Record. This ultimately led to her active participation in the original formation of PGATOUR.COM, months before the website's true launch. "It's my dream job", she stated with a slight grin. Not only is the company responsible for utilizing social media to support PGA TOUR initiatives, but they dynamically assist with its outreach programs as well. The website displays a direct link to the TOUR's charity website, which has the slogan "Together Anything's Possible," constantly trafficking and appealing to fans and philanthropists. Ross said the purpose of creating the charity website was to demonstrate how TOUR players interact with charities and contribute to the community.

Among other exciting features of the day were the news conferences with Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Keegan Bradley. A single aspect that unites these three players, other than their exceptional golf game, is their camaraderie and fascination with the younger generations' development on and off the course. Rory openly expressed his built confidence over the last few weeks, and his father's influence on his career. As McIlroy replicates some of Woods' career highlights, Woods shared his hopes that people will allow McIlroy to develop and flourish as a person and a player.

Course Reporter Biographies
The First Tee of Metropolitan New York
Winifred Shen is a freshman in BARD Early College High School in Manhattan. She has been playing golf since she was 5 years old. Her first official golf class was at Mosholu Golf Course in the Bronx, where the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Instructional Program was held. In 2007, she joined The First Tee of Nassau County in Long Island at Eisenhower Park Golf Course. She is now at the Eagle level in the program and has taught younger kids that are in the Par level. An Honor Roll Student, Winifred is learning Spanish and enjoys drawing. She also speaks Mandarin at home with her family. Both of her parents are from Taiwan, but her father came to New York for his Masters and she was born in New York City. Although the school she attends does not have a golf team, she still works hard to improve her golf and inspires others to play the game.
Kayla Michele Jackson believes in building a solid educational foundation for herself and is making strikes to achieve her goals. She is the only female member of her high school golf team, and has been an active participant in The First Tee for six years. Kayla is a huge advocate for womens golf, and her ultimate motivation for playing is to serve as a role model for youth, and advocate that they take advantage of the innumerable opportunities the sport has to offer. She was introduced to the game of golf at 3 years old and has represented her First Tee Chapters at a number of events across the country, including the Future Leaders Forum, the Hank Haney IJGA Academy, and The First Tee Life Skills and Leadership Academy. As an honor student at her current high school, and the Chief of Staff of the Leaders of Tomorrow program in Newark, N.J., she has acquired leadership qualities that have given her the confidence to explore entrepreneurship and business management. She is also an editor at her school newspaper and remains active in her community serving as a Red Cross Volunteer. She aspires to attend Columbia University, Georgetown, NYU, or Bucknell, double majoring in Journalism & Business, and minoring in Communications & Marketing.

As the day advanced, Winifred and I were able to navigate through the process of novice journalism, meeting fitness trainers, manufacturing consultants for Callaway, and expecting military wives. The experience has not only been exhilarating, but informative. It seems as if horizons are expanded and potentials are maximized when one is given an exclusive insight on the many outlets and careers this industry has to offer.

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