The First Tee Course Reporters
Taylor Slagle - Eagle Participant at The First Tee of Tucson
Play High School Golf at University / Rincon High School
Taylor’s Blog: Day 2
Day two of my course reporting was even crazier than my first! We came out, and the wind was really picking up, bringing some unwanted weather with it. After some more donuts, we headed out to the range to see a few players warm up pre first round.
We got to watch Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, and a couple of other players tee off. The weather was getting more and more dreary. We decided to follow Bubba for the first two holes and we headed over to a food tent filled with Conquistadors and other volunteers around 10. Right around 10:30, the rain came, and there was no stopping it. It poured for a good 15 minutes until the sleet started. More and more people filed in looking more and more damp. Then it was just snow!
Although the wind was heavy, and the snow was whipping in my face, I got to see some snow! Rene and I had a snowball fight out on the fairway of number 2, and I even walked onto the green to take some up-close pictures of the flag.
Flemming’s catered for lunch. Enough said! The food was great. I had some chicken and steak, with some chicken soup, and a lovely dessert. After we ate, we went back out and threw some more snowballs and took some more videos and pictures. Overall, the snow was great and was a really cool add-on to the day. There wasn’t as much golf as we would have liked, but it was still fun!
After we returned from hole number two, we headed over to the TV production truck. This truck has so much going on at once! There were guys that handled transitions, others that rebounded between different stations feed, audio guys, and producers and a director that were all in charge of the feed that goes out to over 240 countries and over 800 million households around the world. They attempted to add/follow a match that would hold international interest, as opposed to a match that only those in the United States would find interest in.
Again, this opportunity has been amazing! I’ve learned so much from players, and people working alike. I’ve gained some great insights that should help me further my golf game and my life. I really have appreciated this opportunity.
We would like to thank the PGA Tour and Tucson Conquistadores for this opportunity and everything they do for The First Tee of Tucson.
- Taylor Slagle
Taylor’s Blog: Day 1
The opportunity to be a First Tee course reporter has been amazing so far! I am so thankful that this I have the chance to come out and talk to players and staff about their numerous experiences about golf in general and the specifics of the tournament.
We started off today with some lovely breakfast at the “Media Dining” area (3 donuts and fruit J) After we finished, we headed over to the Interview room where Rory McIlroy was scheduled to go first. It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but eventually, I worked up the courage to ask a question. I asked him about the difference in feelings between accomplishing a major goal as a golfer and helping kids in need (with UNICEF and the Boys and Girls Club). He told me that although the satisfaction he received when completing a personal goal was nice, it never comes close with the pleasure of helping kids. He stated, “I don’t think it [winning a championship] compares to putting a smile on a kid’s face or touching their lives in a way.” Mr. McIlroy shook my hand, and even posed for some pictures. He talked for a few moments as well and is really a classy guy.
We went off to snag some autographs from players such as: Lee Westwood, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Ian Poulter, and Henrick Stenson! We also watched some golfers warm up on the range (They hit it perfect every time!). We headed back to the “Media Dining” and grabbed some meatball subs and salad. Afterwards, I was very full! We had a bit of a scare because umbrellas and high winds are not a good combination J.
Then we prepared for the up-coming Tiger Woods interview. I was getting excited and was looking forward to asking a question. When he arrived, the atmosphere tightened up. Everybody started speaking at once. About two-thirds of the way through the interview, he finally looked my way. I asked him about how he has been improving his short game recently, and at the end of my question I asked him, “Do you prefer Chipotle or In’ N’ Out Burger?” He smiled and said that he hadn’t had fast food in awhile. He attributed his recent success with short game due to time spent practicing. He said, “I didn’t have a whole lot of time to devote to my short game.” He talked of family matters and how he devoted much of his time to perfecting his swing change. “I didn’t chip as well, I didn’t put as well, and consequently, I didn’t score as well.” I really enjoyed the interaction with Tiger, today. He seemed prepared for the Accenture Match Play Championship.
When we went to the Steve Stricker interview, I touched on his putting game and if there was something specific he focused on when it came to making pressure puts. He said that there really wasn’t. “I guess it comes somewhat naturally to me, but I enjoy that aspect of the game.” Mr. Stricker was very easy-going in the interview and offered some good advice. Although Luke Donald’s interview was short, I was able to gain some insight on his iron-play. “I’m always trying to focus on solid fundamentals. You’ve got to maintain posture pretty well and have a consistent strike.”
We also had the opportunity to interview Ian Poulter. I asked him how he stays confident, even if things start to go wrong in a round. He said, “You can hit one bad shot, but don’t make it two, if you hit two bad shots, don’t make it three. Never, ever, tell yourself you’re in bad form.” I thought it was pretty straightforward J. I also asked about the difference between a Match and Stroke Play event for him and he responded, “[In] Match play, you have 18 holes to try and send your opponent home packing. Stroke play, you’re playing 72 holes against 155 guys.” I really appreciated the advice and insight.
My first day as a course reporter has been really great! I’ve learned a few things about strategies, mindsets, and the genuine attitudes of the multiple pro golfers at this tournament. I am looking forward to tomorrow! AND I just got Rory’s Autograph! Great end to the day.
Rene Cota Jr. - Birdie Participant at The First Tee of Tucson
Plays High School Golf at Tucson High School
Rene’s Blog: Day 2
To start our day, we first headed to the Media Center to drop off our things. We then went to have breakfast in the Media Dining and then went to go see some players like Adam Scott, Chris Wood, and Jamie Donaldson. At the same time, the weather was very cool in the morning when all this was happening. We then went to go see Bubba Watson and Chris Wood tee-off along with Adam Scott and Tim Clark.
When Bubba teed-off, we followed him on the course until we stopped at Bucky’s restaurant on the second hole. We stayed there till they served lunch which was delicious. Right before lunch was about to be served, it started to rain really hard. This eventually turned into snow that covered the entire course. The total depth of the snow in some places of the course was 4 inches. It was a very fun time playing in the snow when it was snowing on the course. It was the first time I’ve ever really experienced snow.
After the storm cleared we went back to the media tent to recovery from some of the weather. After recovering from the storm, we got shuttled to the TV Production truck which is where they broadcast the tournament internationally. We got a tour of the production truck from George Ameer who is the PGA Tour Manager for International Television. We then walked back to the media center and that was the way that we ended our day. This was a lot of fun and a great learning experience for me.
-Rene Cota Jr
Rene’s Blog: Day 1
On the first day of our course reporting, we got to see how the media gets all its blogs and news printed. We also ate all our meals at a tent just outside the Media Tent called “Media Dining”. After that we went to an interview with Rory McIlroy and I asked him, “How do you feel coming to Marana every year for the Accenture Match Play Tournament?” He responded with, “It’s nice. It’s usually my first tournament back in the U.S., and it’s --- when you start to come back to places, you get familiar with them. You’ve got your favorite restaurants and you know where to go. It’s nice to come back to somewhere that feels a little bit familiar.”
We then went to go see players hit out at the range and got some player’s autographs when they were coming and going. After this we went to eat lunch before going to Tiger’s interview scheduled at 1:30pm. We then went to the interview and I didn’t have a chance to ask a question but I did manage to get a few pictures in. When we got back to the Media Tent, we went to Steve Stricker’s interview.
When the interview began, I asked him, “How does it feel being in the top 64 in the world and being invited to play in this Accenture Match Play?” He responded with “Well this is one of the events you want to be a part of.” After his interview, we waited for Luke Donald who was coming in to talk. I asked him, “Do you feel that your irons are the strongest part of your game, and if so, why? He responded with, “I think the last few years I would say my short game has been the strongest part of my game.” Our last interview of the day was Ian Poulter after we talked with Luke Donald. I asked him two questions, one was about how you would adjust to playing in the desert, and he said that there’s not much adjusting to do. My second question was what advice can you give to a young golfer like me to help me excel in the future, and he responded with “Work really hard and never say never.”
After doing all these interviews, we went to go watch Rory McIlroy hit at the driving range. We were waiting for autographs and were watching him hit. To end our day, when Rory was done hitting, he went to sign autographs to everybody including us. That was something really cool to end the day with. In the end, I had a lot of fun and can’t wait for tomorrow.