Chuck Myers will go as far as his retirement savings allow to satisfy his golf fix.
“I have to keep the budget about $800 a tournament,” he said.
To volunteer at the Marathon Classic this week, the 66-year-old Myers drove three hours from his home in Helendale, Calif., to Las Vegas to catch a bargain flight to Detroit. He then got a room at Knight’s Inn in Holland, splitting the room and the cost with a buddy who caddies on the LPGA Tour. Dinners are at Waffle House or McDonald’s, maybe Cracker Barrel.
The payoff is his gig as a walking scorer. Saturday, he followed the first group of players under another relentless sun, punching their results swing by swing into a handheld computer.
This is his idea of a vacation — and, in truth, they don’t come any sweeter.
“I need all the energy I can get,” he said with a laugh, “and it just makes me feel great to be around these players and these folks.”
Myers is one of more than 1,000 volunteers who make the Marathon Classic churn, and one of its most dedicated.
He has spanned the country volunteering at more than 100 tournaments since he retired as a computer systems analyst in 1999 and, while he has worked PGA events, his passion is the women’s game. He plans to volunteer at 10 LPGA events this year, including the Solheim Cup next month in Colorado.
“The players here are really appreciative of the volunteers,” Myers said. “The senior men, they’re not so bad. But with the PGA guys, they’re too worried about where to spend their next million, what plane to buy. In fact, you’re lucky if they even say hello.”
By contrast, each player in Myers’ group thanked him after their round. Mariajo Uribe and Katie Burnett gave him a signed ball while Ji Young Oh handed over an autographed glove.
Myers and about 60 other walking scorers wear many hats: Statisticians, middlemen with rules officials, even confidants.
The live hole-by-hole scoring updates you see on telecasts or online are because of volunteers like Myers. At the Marathon Classic, where a handheld computer replaced a paper system two years ago, he inputs the result and location of every shot. Scorers track everything from greens in regulation to players’ driving distance. For the purposes of measuring average drives, they have charted tee shots this week off the 395-yard, par-4 12th hole and the 513-yard, par-5 17th.
Myers also serves as a safety net when a player need to cross-check her score and summons officials to settle disputes.
His group had one such quarrel Saturday after Burnett found the left rough on No. 7 and hit the branch of a tree during her backswing on a practice cut. Another player said she saw something fall off the tree, which, in theory, means Burnett could have been charged a penalty for improving her lie. But Myers and the others didn’t see anything awry, and Burnett was not penalized.
Myers enjoys working with most players though some, of course, are looser than others.
One time, Michael Christman, who oversees the volunteer scorers, recalled a plane flying over Highland Meadows with a banner advertising “18 holes and a steak dinner for $25” at a Michigan golf course. The player did a double take and turned to Christman, then a walking scorer himself.
“That's either a really bad golf course or a really bad steak,” the golfer said according to Christman.
Myers said the rule is “you don’t talk to the players unless they talk to you.”
“Some like to have somebody to talk to,” he said. “They may not care for the other players in a group or maybe they’re mad at their caddies, so they’ll come over and talk to me.”
Just another day in Myers’ golf odyssey of a lifetime.
Contact David Briggs at:
419-724-6084, or on
Twitter @ DBriggsBlade.
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