Interning for the Memorial Tournament: Things I Learned

A little under a month ago, I was given the incredible opportunity to intern for the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. Not only was this my first internship, but this was my first immersion into the wide world of sports that I had previously known close to nothing about. Sure, I enjoyed watching ESPN’s Not-Top-10, and, yeah, I have never missed a Clemson football game, but other than that, I was pretty clueless. While I didn’t mention it in the breakdown of my adventures in sports, I did, in fact, play a little bit of golf when I was younger. However, when I say “a little bit,” I actually mean that I almost made it around all 9 holes that one time I played when I was 10 years old. And my only other endeavors into the prestigious world of golf consisted of playing putt-putt with the boys I nannied for last summer and watching ‘Happy Gilmore.’ So, needless to say, I was in a whole new world when I stepped onto the Muirfield Village Golf Course for the first day of my internship.

For those of you confused as to what I actually did as an internand for those of you who are simply intrigued at the thought of interning for a PGA tournament, here is a comprehensive list of just a few of the many things I learned during my two-week stay in Dublin, OH:

1. How to watch golf.

Note how I did not say “how to play golf.” No, I have no idea the proper way to swing a golf club to ensure that the ball will go just the proper distance to land on the green. I have absolutely no idea how golfers manage that. However, I can now say that I actually understand the game of golf and that I truly enjoy watching it. During the tournament itself, all of the hospitality interns were scattered at the various hospitality venues throughout the course. For those of you that watched the tournament, the interns were either positioned along the 16th hole, in between the 10th hole and 11th tee, or on the 14th hole. I will admit that being right in the middle of the tournament was incredibly helpful in terms of learning how the game of golf was played. So, thanks to the Memorial, I now have a new-found obsession appreciation for the game. So much so that I can’t stop watching the Golf Channel…no, really. Anyone see Tiger’s awful round yesterday?

2. Putting on a golf tournament is A LOT of work.

Yes, being able to watch parts of the actual tournament was very exciting and rewarding, but it was a very small part of what I did as an intern. The 12 of us (hospitality interns) knew what we were signing up for, but that didn’t make it any easier. I’m going to be pretty upfront about this and say that there was a lot of physical labor on our end. And when you are working up to 16 hour days, 7 days a week, sleep is a precious commodity [see picture on the right]. Whether it was distributing 50 lb. boxes of magazines to hotels, airports, and various patrons, putting together 100+ flat screen TVs, or setting up an entire hospitality tent essentially from the ground up (not the actual tent, but everything else), we were responsible for making sure every venue was overly prepared for whatever the guests might need. And to think: we were just the interns.

3. Jack Nicklaus is a cutie….and owns everything.

So the Muirfield Village Golf Course was designed and is owned by Jack Nicklaus. Thus, the Memorial Tournament is practically THE Jack Nicklaus tournament. His face was everywhere: on the lamp posts, on the patron passes, in the Champions Pavilion Concession stands, on the Arizona lemonade (which he also owns); hell, the highway we drove to get to Muirfield everyday was even named after the guy. Not that any of this is a bad thing. If I was that successful of a man, I would probably start owning random stuff, too. And thanks to the intern raffle at the end of the internship, I am now the proud owner of a bottle of Jack Nicklaus wine (yes, it exists).

And to answer your question, yes, we did see The Golden Bear himself (Jack) as he was cruising by the driving range as we were leaving for the day. I swear to you, it was the absolute cutest thing a famous golfer could have done: he just looked at all of us and waved and said “Hello everybody! Hello! Hello!” and carried on his merry way. Oh, and if you were curious, Jack Nicklaus III is stunning.

4. Golfers really hate cell phones.

If you don’t follow golf or didn’t happen to catch the news stories the next day, never fear: there was quite the hullabaloo at the Memorial due to patrons using their cell phones to take pictures. Now, I’ve grown to really like these golfers, but I personally just think this is plain ridiculous. You’re getting paid how much? And you’re going to complain that people holding up an iPhone to take a picture of you is infringing on how well you play? I just don’t see it. I was yelled at only once for taking a picture with my phone. And, no, it was not for taking that fabulous picture of Rickie Fowler above. It was quite embarrassing, actually: I was trying to get a picture of Tiger as he was walking up the green on the 16th hole when a man leading a pack of upwards of 200+ people yelled up to where I was standing on the balcony of the hospitality venue. Needless to say, my phone went away for the day.

5. Interns do what they are told. 

I really do mean this in the most genuine way: interns are at the bottom of  the totem-pole and will do what they are told, no questions asked. It’s kinda fun that way, though, right? Less thinking on your part, less opportunity for you to get blamed if something goes wrong? I can dig it. For example, we had to work the junior clinic one afternoon and I, along with a couple of other interns, was put in charge of placing some poster-boards on easels. Well, it just so happened to be the most blustery day in June and the poster-boards would not stand on their easels. Thus, it was my duty as an intern to serve as a human easel for the finicky poster-boards that would not stand up. But in all seriousness, if we were not there, some serious mishaps would have occurred. Therefore, I am proud to have been a beneficial contribution to the overall production of the Memorial.

Overall, my experience at the Memorial is one I will cherish and remember for my entire life. For it was at the Memorial Tournament that I learned who Rickie Fowler was, I learned to enjoy the taste of coffee (with A LOT of chocolate, I might add), and I truly learned the value of hard work and how much it really pays off.

So that last line was really cheesy, but you catch my drift, right?

Also, if you want to see any more of my pictures, head over to my Instagrid to see my Instagram pictures from the tournament (or from anytime, really).

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