How I met Dan Hernandez PGA Tour coach
by Linda Mattos
(Bellevue, WA USA)
I have a long time client who became aware I was taking multiple vacations days every year to volunteer at tennis. Since there are no local professional tennis tournaments, and I was always going out of town, my client suggested I volunteer at the local Boeing Classic.
The first year I was unable to volunteer because registration was already full. The next year, due to scheduling conflicts, I was only able to work one day. I worked in sky box hospitality holding a sign that said “Quiet Please” and “No Cell Phones”. But it was enough to get me excited for the third year, 2014, and that was when my world changed.
Due to my prior year of volunteering in 2013 I was invited to early bird registration so I was able to pick my poison. I am a mountain climber and very active so when I read the description of “Standard Bearer” I knew that was the job for me.
I was able to volunteer two days at the Boeing Classic as a Standard Bearer in 2014. The first day I walked with the Doug Garwood, David Frost, and Woody Austin grouping. That was the moment my love affair with golf began. The opportunity to see the game played at an expert level up and close up was all it took.
The next day I walked with the Tom Kite, Sandy Lyle, and Peter Jacobsen. I was hooked. I quickly looked at my calendar to see what other events were coming up and where I might be able to attend.
I ended up signing up for the First Tee Open in Pebble as a tournament ambassador. It was great to be able to visit the area again since I have a lot of childhood and family history there. The last day of the tournament, I saw one of the golfers I had watched at Boeing, was on the 16th hole so I asked to take a break from my shift.
I walked down to the water and saw the 16th and 17th holes. While walking to the 18th hole a man I was walking next to gestured to the player I was watching. I asked the man if he knew the player and it turned out he was his longtime coach. We got acquainted and the next thing I knew the coach introduced me to the player! What a thrilling moment in golf volunteer history!
The next tournament I signed up to work was the year-end Charles Schwab Cup Championship
in Scottsdale. I was assigned at the long drive hole to measure the distance. I held that position for three days and commuted to the site from my sister’s house in the Arcadia area of Phoenix each day.
I was able to catch up a bit with the golfer I was introduced to in Pebble so that was also exciting for me. I swore I was done traveling to golf tournaments after that and thought I would only find myself at the Boeing Classic from then on but that was not to be the case. I couldn’t help myself and in an effort to get out of the Seattle gray I found myself working as a standard bearer at the Tucson Conquistador Classic in March of 2015. I fell in love with Tucson and almost in love with a caddie I randomly met on the internet while I was trying to find a golfer who could use my extra tickets. It turned out the caddie I met in Tucson was a caddie for one of my groupings at the Boeing Classic as well. We went on a date but aw ‘twas not meant to be.
Next up are five days at the Boeing Classic this summer. Two days during the pro-am as a walking scorer and three during the tournament as a standard bearer. I have requested to work five days at the year-end champs in Scottsdale this year as a standard bearer. I plan to go to Pebble again, schedule permitting, and will register for the walking scorer position as soon as their portal opens up.
As a result of volunteering I have made many wonderful friends including PGA Tour coach Dan Hernandez and his wife Elizabeth. I also met randomly Rex Tanner while I was in Tucson who has invited me on a two day, rim to rim trek of the Grand Canyon that he has organized in May.
I no longer volunteer at professional tennis events. Although I love tennis I find volunteering for golf to be more chill and organized. Something about being on the grass, with the gorgeous vistas as opposed to the concrete, makes golf a better fit for me. Happy volunteering!