St Mellion golfer Tony Prout, a member of the South East Cornwall club since 1978, has returned to the country after being a marshal at the recent Ryder Cup tournament in Paris.
Tony had previously been a marshal at four Benson & Hedges internationals, and in 2006 and 2007 he was a marshal at the European Seniors Open.
In 2010 he Hole Marshaled at the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in South Wales.
Here, Tony tells the Cornish Times website his story of the 2018 Ryder Cup . . .
‘I caught the ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff and drove to my apartment in Versailles near Paris.
‘The first couple of days were taken up with collecting uniform, personal security passes for myself and my car and team briefs.
‘Team briefs were given in regards of security along with our responsibilities in managing the par 4 fifth hole.
‘I then took time to walk the course and familiarise myself with the course layout.
‘Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were practice days where one team started from the first tee and the other team would play from 10th tee.
‘As Hole Marshals our responsibilities inside the ropes were to ensure the players and caddies were given safe access to the tee area, playing area including the green and exit point to the next tee; we also marshaled crossing points for spectators.
‘From the tee we would indicate to Marshals just off the fairway the direction of the players tee shot ie, if the shot is straight, left or right.
‘Marshals off the fairway were required to indicate if the ball was safe or if in the rough, was found or lost. Actually in one of the USA practice rounds, Tiger Woods had hit two balls which landed in the rough near to where I was standing.
‘I indicated to the tee that both balls were found but on getting to his second ball, which was in deep rough, he chose to take that shot, ignoring the first ball which was an easier shot.
‘After all the players, team entourage and media had the left the vicinity, I picked up the first ball and claimed it! A ball souvenir from Tiger to a Cornish Hole Marshal.
‘During the practice rounds the European team, captain and vice captains were very approachable to the fans including the volunteers and I was able to get Thomas Bjorn to sign a ball for me – not Tiger’s I may add.
‘The American players were very focused on practising and I spoke to a number of American fans who were disappointed that the players would not autograph until after the round, unlike the more relaxed European team, who would have photos taken with the fans.
‘On the Saturday, day two, I was marshaling the fifth green when the bunker shot from American rookie Tony Finau came out of the sand, ran along the green into the hole for a 3, but Rory McIlroy also responded with a putt for a 3.
‘The atmosphere everywhere was electric, and having worked the mornings until 1.30 I was able to watch the golf anywhere around the course.
‘The 1st Hole grandstand held 6,500 people. Between 60,000 and 65,000 people attended the tournament each day.
‘The weather in Paris was exceptionally good all tournament, the course was set up for the Europe team with narrow fairways and severe rough. The course was managed daily by 170 greenkeepers from all over Europe.
‘As a footnote, there were 1,300 volunteers at the Ryder Cup carrying out various roles including Grandstand, Volunteer HQ, Buggy drivers, Meet & Greet, Assisting Car Parking staff, Media Marshals, Practice Range and Putting Green.
‘We had 14 Marshals looking after the fifth hole and they were made up of 11 from France, one American, one Welshman and one Cornishman. We got on really well as a team and all had a good time.
‘The memories of my time spent at the 2018 Ryder Cup will remain with me for the rest of my my life and beyond.
‘I can’t wait for Whistling Straits at Wisconsin 2020.’