"Sorry," he says, sarcastically, "we thought you worked here."
Actually, Biff, I have volunteered, along with 1,300 others, to stand here and take your guff and, when you are finished serving it up, say, "Have a nice day." If I wasn't under orders to be civil, I might tell you where to put the lit end of your cigar.
In addition to being told that politeness is mandatory, we were instructed at Marshal U to:
•Be vigilant. The USGA's Roger Harvie told us that with the onset of Tigermania, a lot of people in the gallery "don't know the game of golf as well as we all know it." Not that we are all-knowing. At 7:15 a.m. on the second day of the Open, for instance, Olympic Club superintendent John Fleming was displeased to discover a gaggle of marshals shooting the breeze and drinking coffee while standing on the 2nd green.
•Make friends with the gallery. Don't be perceived as a privileged onlooker.
•Avoid talking to the players unless they initiate conversation with you. So, Nick, how's your love life?
•Never volunteer rulings or advice. Psst, Jack, you're looping on your backswing.
•Make sure no one is in the middle of his backswing before issuing the marshal's stock commands: "Stand please" and "Quiet, please."
•Stay sober. Harvie told us that during a rain delay at an event 15 or 20 years ago, the resumption of play was delayed while a couple of marshals removed a drunken comrade who had collapsed in a bunker. Said Harvie, "We would ask you not to become loose impediments during the week of the Open."
•Know where Tiger is on the course. For every 10 people who pose a question, eight want to know about Tiger Woods. Has he come through yet? Where is he? What is the shortest route to him? We are not marshals so much as we are individual Tiger Information Outlets.