Els' amazing shot sticks with crowd
After being a marshal at the 10th hole of the Heritage for years, I have several vivid memories, mostly of the friendly pro golfers -- especially Ernie Els. His tee shot on the 10th hole one year landed close to me, near the walkway between the 10th and 16th holes. Ernie had about 165 yards to the pin, but he was behind a huge tree that guarded the green on the right-hand side. Ernie looked at me and the crowd and asked humorously, "Should I go over or under that mammoth tree?" No one responded. "I think I'll go over it," Ernie said. Els then proceeded to hit an iron shot to within 6 to 8 feet of the pin followed by a birdie putt. We all cheered in admiration.
Sun City Hilton Head
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A marshal's episode with Amy Mickelson
It was Sunday at Harbour Town for the final round of the 1998 Heritage. For many years, two marshals were assigned to walk with the last two twosomes on Saturday and Sunday. I was positioned ahead of the tee just inside the ropes awaiting the arrival and introduction of Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson. I noticed a young girl some 20 yards ahead crouched on the ground by the roped stakes signaling me. I quickly approached her and asked how I could be of help. She said, "I am Amy Mickelson and my husband, Phil, is with the last twosome. My problem is with my small stature I may not be able to get through the spectators to where I could watch Phil around and on the greens."
I responded something like this: "Mrs. Mickelson, I would recommend you do not watch fairway play. As soon as Phil and Davis tee off, go as fast as you can to the area around the green, preferably the right side. Make your way to the roped stakes. I will be looking for you and offer you my hand to guide you a foot or two inside the ropes." At the second or third hole I said, "Mrs. Mickelson, do you have a good view of play on the green?" She said, "Yes, and call me 'Amy.'" I pointed to the name tag on my right lapel and said, "Call me 'Bud.'"
At the sixth hole Amy took mtted my shoulder and said, "Bud, thanks for your special help." I never saw her the rest of the day. Davis Love III won the 30th Heritage by seven strokes. I believe at the time it was the largest margin of victory in tournament history. Glen Day was runner-up and Phil Mickelson took third.
Hilton Head Island
'Dirty Dozen' made special memories
I was 8 years old when I first played golf. A textile mill in South Carolina developed a golf course in the area that also pastured cows. It was a nine-hole course, each green had a small fence around it with an opening to enter. All of the greens were sand and the hole was in the middle of each green. When leaving the green, the sand was raked for the next players. My uncle had four clubs that we used; the long ones to hit and the short ones to putt. He taught three of us at a young age how to handle these clubs. Tuesdays were free days at this "course," but we were only allowed to play one Tuesday each month. Money from my paper route finally allowed me to purchase three clubs of my own.
Upon discharge from the Navy following World War II, I renewed my passion for golf. Twelve men from Port Royal Golf Club, called "The Dirty Dozen," attended the Heritage from the early days until recently. I played the Heritage course when it was nine holes. In 2006 I relinquished my membership at Port Royal Golf Club due to health, age and loss of most of "The Dirty Dozen." Over the years I continued to pursue the game of golf, never having reached the goal of a professional, only retaining my love for golf and the Heritage.
Hilton Head Island