May 01, 2017

My National Day: golf’s fastest round

Walking to the first tee during the final round of the 2014 Quicken Loans National, I had no idea what was in store for me. But more to come on that.

I’ve had great experiences volunteering at the Quicken Loans National over the past five years; from walking with former Quicken Loans CEO, Bill Emerson and Rickie Fowler, keeping score for David Love III, to seeing Jon Rahm sprout his wings on the PGA TOUR. However, my most memorable moment occurred during the final round of the 2014 tournament. 

This Sunday round in 2014 was unlike other I had worked during the tournament. There was an odd number of players, because 75 players made the cut and as a result, I was scheduled to be the walking scorer for Rory Sabbatini, who was playing as a single that morning. If you know Rory, you know he enjoys playing a fast round of golf. What I did not know at the time was he was going to take advantage of being the first “group” off the tee.

As I was introduced to Rory I was also told since he was not paired with another player and that I would also be keeping an official scorecard for him. Normally each player keeps the others score, but since he teed off by himself, I was designated that privilege!

 As Rory teed off, my adventure began. Rory was interested in not only playing a fast pace of golf, but he wanted to break the course record for the fastest round of golf at Congressional Country Club. I quickly realized how fast he wanted to play when I saw his caddie hand him a club and then Rory started to dash down the fairway. Right away I found myself jogging up to the next shot with Rory, and to be honest, it was exhilarating.  

We teed off at 8:30 a.m., quickly moving through the course. As we moved from hole to hole, there was a buzz that started to build. By the time we made the turn, Rory had collected a crowd who were rooting him on as he closed in on the record. Rory was focused and was playing well. Although he didn’t have a birdie throughout the round, he really did not have a bad shot either.

The end of the adventure was in sight as we made it to 18 tee. From the crowd we had collected, you would have thought he was still in the hunt for the title! He hit a nice drive, and a fairway shot just short of the green. Rory hit a soft wedge, leaving him a short putt, which he dropped in for par. As Rory reached down to pull his ball from the hole, he looked up at the group on 10 tee and waived to the group about to tee off. We were done in one hour and 55 minutes! To this day, I still remember the look of amazement on Angel Cabrera’s face as he waived back from 10 tee. 

Throughout the round Rory was great to me, the standard barrier and the fans. He was thankful of my participation and I could tell he was having fun. I am grateful to have such memorable moments at the Quicken Loans National, and I look forward to continue to make more of them. See you all at 2017’s event!