"Do that again, and I'll file a full report to the USGA."
"Don't come crying to me if you catch a Titleist in the temple."
After I have presided over a few slipshod crossings, Rocky makes a special trip out from the tee box—this is very, very bad—to tell me that I am letting far too many stragglers through; that I had better stop being what marshals call a "rope dope."
It's only natural that some of the other marshals resent Rocky. I noticed that she was a bit peremptory with the marshals on the 15th green, with whom we conduct joint rope operations. Rocky rules with an iron fist—some of the guys call her the Czarina.
THURSDAY: Thirteen clubs from around the Bay Area provide some 900 marshals. The Olympic Club kicks in with 250 more, including 50 or so agents from the local FBI office on a busman's holiday. I am one of roughly 130 19th Hole marshals. Since we have no assigned hole, we report to the marshals' trailer each morning and wait for an assignment. Whiling the time away, I am reminded of my summers as a looper at the tony Misquamicut Club in Watch Hill, R.I., where legendary caddiemaster Charlie Pescatello would yell down to us, if a card game became too boisterous, "Watch your f——-' language, there's f——-' ladies on the tee!"
When Clifford sticks his head out of the trailer, it is to send me to the 7th hole—a short, uphill par-4. I'm a spotter in the rough on the left, watching for errant drives, but no one hits near me. A guy with beer on his breath leans over the ropes and offers me $100 for my windbreaker. I'm tempted, but I've already decided to iron a crease into its sleeves, put it back in its original packaging and give it to one of my brothers-in-law for Christmas.
This same afternoon, I find out later, Justin Leonard lit into a marshal. After she had disturbed him by asking for "Quiet, please," Leonard scolded, "That means you, too."
That's right, pick on the marshal. We're easy marks. Players know the paying customers resent us. Jane Walker, a nice woman from the Claremont Country Club, was marshaling on the 11th green today when Woods & Co. arrived. When she knelt, a woman behind her shrieked, "You're not gonna kneel there, are you?" When Walker explained, apologetically, that she had to kneel somewhere, the woman said, "We all paid for our tickets."
FRIDAY: Got a late start, then got pulled over on my way to work. The cop clocked me at 81. Yes, I was wearing my marshal's badge, and yes, the officer let me skate. Those of us in the law-enforcement community look out for one another.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I thought everyone in Bernhard Langer's group had hit their approaches onto or near the green. So I lowered the rope on the crosswalk nearest the 14th green, oblivious to the fact that, 60 feet behind me, Langer was standing over his third shot. Seeing what I had not seen, the spectators stood stock still until Langer hit. "Thank you very much," I told them as they passed. "My bad."