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  • Like father, like daughter

    Next week, I’ll step away from PGA TOUR Latinoamérica for a week to work where my dad once toiled

  • Twenty years later, Patricia Monchietti will be refereeing a major championship at the same course where her father refereed. (Courtesy: Patricia Monchietti)
    Twenty years later, Patricia Monchietti will be refereeing a major championship at the same course where her father refereed. (Courtesy: Patricia Monchietti)
  • In This Article
  • It all started with a WhatsApp message from the R&A when I was in Cordoba, Argentina, for PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Abierto del Centro back in early April. A message from the R&A is not something you get every day, so I stared at the words on my screen for a couple of seconds and let the message sink in. The R&A was inviting me to serve as a referee at the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield in August—if I was available.

    My immediate thought was, Yes, I think I can squeeze this into my schedule.

    Knowing PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s season would be complete by then, my boss, John Slater, the Tour’s Vice President of Competitions and Administration, totally supported this opportunity.

    I quickly forwarded the entire message to my husband, Federico. He called me right away and was so happy. He knew that refereeing a major championship is a big thing, and he is always supporting and encouraging me in my work. I then called my father.

    That was an important call.

    My dad, Ricardo, worked in the construction industry for his career, and during his free time he was also a golf rules official. It may have started as a hobby for him, but he eventually learned the rules, becoming fanatic about the sport and its competitions. Since I was a young girl, I was aware of how passionate he was about officiating golf tournaments, and he eventually became an honorary rules official for the Argentine Association of Golf, even spending 10 years as President of the AAG’s Rules Committee. I basically grew up with my dad refereeing and always going to tournaments.

    Of all the events my now 79-year-old father worked, probably the most-important one was the 2002 Open Championship. He was the first South American rules official invited by the R&A to referee the Open Championship. I was so proud of him, and I always told him that sometime in the future I would referee a major, too. My dad made history at The Open Championship that week as Ernie Els won the tournament, conducted at Muirfield.

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    Patricia's father, Ricardo, at the 2002 Open Championship. (Courtesy: Patricia Monchietti)

    Twenty years later, I will be refereeing a major championship at the same course where my father refereed. I will be the first Argentine female rules official invited by the R&A. Telling my dad that news—and where I would be doing it—was extremely special.

    How I will spend the first week of August has finally sunk in, but it took a while. Only after I received the formal letter and invitation from the R&A did it totally feel real. It’s awesome. The AIG Women’s Open is a major, and I will serve on the championship’s rules committee and referee. Those are big words.

    This is a dream come true for me, but, really, what I’m doing for my career is a dream. I have worked for PGA TOUR Latinoamérica since January 2020 after working two events as a freelancer in 2018 and one in 2019. When I worked at the AAG, I helped PGA TOUR Latinoamérica with its Qualifying Tournament at Hurlingham Club in Buenos Aires in 2012. Since, I’ve worked every single year, as the AAG and the Tour work so well together. I’ve also worked every Argentine Open once it became a part of the Tour’s official schedule, also in 2012.

    I also believe the fact I’ve been invited to referee the last two Latin American Amateur Championships helped in me receiving this assignment. I worked with the R&A those weeks, the people there know me, they know how I perform, and they know I’m working on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica. Working on this Tour means a lot and signals to organizations like the R&A. That’s important because, to my knowledge, I am the first full-time woman rules official from Latin America to get to do this. I take great pride in being something of a trailblazer. Being a woman does set me apart in this industry because there aren’t too many of us. Most of the rules officials in South America don’t actually do this kind of work as their full-time jobs. They might work tournaments, but it’s not their job. This is my job and has been for what seems like my entire career.

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    I played college golf, attending school in the U.S., at Campbell University in North Carolina from 1995-99, graduating in business administration and marketing. I actually never had professional-playing dreams. I knew how hard it was to be a pro golfer, but I always knew I wanted to work in the golf industry.

    In 2000, I went back to Argentina, and that’s when I was hired to work in operations at the World Golf Championships-EMC World Cup in Buenos Aires. In 2001, the Spain Golf Tour, based in Madrid, offered me a job, which I accepted. Then in 2004, I took my first refereeing exam, and in 2006 I returned home to work at the AAG as Deputy Director of Competitions and Rules.

    In my life, I’ve only attended one major championship, the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. The USGA had called Campbell University looking for help from students, and I became a volunteer, working with some of the tournament’s vendors. The AIG Women’s Open will be my second major championship, my first one as a rules official, and I’m really looking forward to it. My role will be a little different this time, which I think is going to be amazing.

    Then when the time comes, I will return to Argentina and prepare for the upcoming 2022-23 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. I love working on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica; it’s my home. This is where I want to be, but it’s such an honor to be invited to the AIG Women’s Open, and if I get to work this or other championships again in the future, or for other organizations, I will welcome the opportunity. After all, this is my job and I love it.