Tiger Woods, professional golfer, was at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego over the weekend for the Farmers Insurance Open. He was one of the many golf superstars that showed up for the tournament where Justin Rose took his tenth TOUR win.
And in addition to the golfers, PLNU students showed up to volunteer and also just to watch some golf. “This is a great opportunity to see the best golfers all in one area and they are playing so close to Loma,” said junior business major Aaron Sanchez over an email interview.
“I specifically wanted to go this past weekend because there is so much history at Torrey Pines Golf Course,” Sanchez says. “So to walk both courses with the best players around the world is something so unique.”
At the tournament, Sanchez says he noticed the huge gallery following Woods and the two other players in his group, Xander Schauffele and Tony Finau, around the North Course. He says there were roars as soon as Woods made contact with the ball and it didn’t even matter where it went because the crowd loves Woods.
“[Woods] just has so much history with 80 wins on tour and 14 majors,” Sanchez says. “I don’t think anyone will do that again because of the competition of the sport and the popularity. Older people will tell me that Tiger made golf and he made it really cool.”
Another fan of Woods is Cassie Kelley, Master’s student in sports management, and she was able to be a volunteer at the tournament through the Master’s program she is involved in. Kelley says it was a way for her to watch her favorite golfers as well as gain hands-on experience in how to run a professional sporting event.
“I feel like [Woods] helped usher in the generation of golfers we see today,” Kelley says. “He is also one of the greatest to ever play the game. Anyone that good is going to be special.”
Though she has been a Tiger fan since she was a young girl, she is also a huge fan of Rickie Fowler, a southern California native, because of his attitude and style that he exudes on the course. So she was excited to see all of her favorite players making birdies and knocking shots two feet from the hole all while making it look easy.
Another volunteer at the Open was AJ Firey, a junior business major. Firey, though not a golfer, said over an email interview that he enjoyed getting the experience of working in the sports industry and found it fascinating watching the professionals play.
“It was absolutely amazing to watch the professionals play,” Firey says. “I’ve never been a big fan of golf but being there in person gives you a whole new perspective on the sport and the energy that comes with it.”
He says he especially noticed the large following of Woods and saw the sea of fans surrounding him at every hole and making noise at every shot.
“Tiger is so popular simply because he is the greatest golfer of all time,” Firey says. “He has created a brand out of himself and you can only do that if you are great at what you do.”