Raymond was inside the ropes during the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He didn’t have his camera with him. Instead, the avid local golfer was serving as a volunteer for the U.S. Golf Association.
“If you are a fan of golf, there is no closer experience than doing what I was able to do,” Raymond said.
Raymond was a marshal on the fourth hole. Since the fourth and 17th holes shared a teeing area, he also assisted players moving from the 16th green, across the fourth tee to the 17th tee.
It was the second U.S. Open Raymond has worked. Both have been at Pebble Beach.
“On Sunday I stood only 10 feet from Tiger as he hit his tee shot on No. 4,” Raymond said. “Nothing but air between myself and the person that has and still does define the game of golf. It was surreal to watch this sports icon up close.”
Raymond got a little TV time of his own on the Fox broadcasts, being seen at least twice. One of the times was when he helped a group that included Phil Mickelson look for a wayward tee shot hit by Dustin Johnson during the second round.
“The slope was very steep with a 50-foot drop to the beach below,” Raymond said. “I did point a ball out to Phil about 20 feet down the slope, which he immediately dismissed saying, ‘that’s a Titleist.’ Great eyes, Phil.” (Johnson plays a TaylorMade ball).
Raymond also had a brief interaction with Rhys Enoch, the former East Tennessee State All-American who made the cut with a spectacular 66 in the second round. He said “Go Bucs.” Enoch replied with a smile and a thumbs-up gesture.
WOODLAND AT BLACKTHORN
Gary Woodland became a household name Sunday when he won the U.S. Open, but when he played in our area, his performance was anything but remarkable.
Woodland played for Kansas in the 2004 Bank of Tennessee Intercollegiate at Blackthorn Club and finished tied for 59th. His rounds of 78, 72 and 76 left him 10 over par, 18 strokes behind winner Philip Pettitt of Tennessee.
Oklahoma’s Anthony Kim finished second that year and Wake Forest’s Webb Simpson, another future U.S. Open champion, was third.
Woodland’s Kansas team was 12th in the final standings.
PINE OAKS PRO
Local golfers will have a chance to get to know Bryan Bentley, the new professional at Pine Oaks Golf Course, Friday and Saturday when the course hosts a meet-and-greet.
The folks at the Johnson City-owned course are encouraging golfers to come out and “enjoy a day of fun, food and golf.” Food trucks will be on hand both days. Call Pine Oaks at 423-434-6250 for more information.
Mark the date. The Ridgefields Invitational is set for July 12-14 in Kingsport.
The 54-hole tournament will be stroke play for the championship and senior divisions and match play for the regular flights. Entrants with a USGA handicap index of 3.0 or lower must play in the championship division.
There is also a super senior division for players 65 and older.
The entry fee is $175 and includes a practice round, three tournament rounds, cart fees, range balls and lunch each day of the tournament.
Call Ridgefields at 423-392-8373 for more information.
BACK IN ACTION
Cliff Kresge will make his first PGA Tour Champions start since his successful trip to Japan this weekend in the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin.
Kresge, a Kingsport native, finished tied for 10th in his last tournament, the MasterCard Japan Championship. That moved him up to 62nd in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
The following week, Kresge will play in a major, the U.S. Senior Open, scheduled for June 27-30 at the Warren Course at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
NO MORE WEB.COM
The Web.com Tour’s run is over effective immediately.
The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that Korn Ferry, a global consulting firm, has replaced Web.com as the title sponsor of the PGA Tour’s developmental tour.
The tour became the Korn Ferry Tour as of Wednesday and the deal runs through 2028.
Cattails at MeadowView will be the site of a Family Golf Festival on Saturday from 1-4 p.m.
Activities include free golf instruction, clinics, interactive golf games, contests, giveaways, food trucks and more.
World Long Drive athlete Trent Scruggs will be on hand to help golfers gain more distance off the tee.
Representatives from the First Tee, PGA Jr. League, TaylorMade and the professional staff from Cattails will be on hand.
For more information, call 423-578-6622.