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WOW Journal #017: My week at The 2022 PGA Championship

To put it in simple terms, Major Championship weeks are majestic. I use that word because, unlike any other event, there is a sense of magic and spectacle at these four events we deem to be the “Big Ones” that no other event carries. You can feel it in the air. Media coverage is amplified, and the field is the strongest you will see all year.

On the Callaway Performance Truck, the pace is quite intense, and we had 26 staffers in play this week, including two Champions Tour players (Micheel and Been) and two club pros (Mendoza and Inglis). For those four players, it’s one of the rare chances to have access to “the big truck” and get things built they want to test, or that will give them an edge for the week.

From a personal standpoint, Major Championships are always a sprint to the finish starting Sunday afternoon all the way to getting on the plane to go home Wednesday evening.

I have always wanted to share what a week is like for me at one of these events, so let’s take a look, shall we?

Sunday:

My plane landed around 12 PM, and I headed straight to Southern Hills to get my credentials for the week and take some photos of the Major Bag for the PGA. If you visit Callaway’s social media, you may have seen the picture of the bag in front of the clock tower. That was the assignment for the day, and that was the result; I think it turned out great:)

After getting the photos done, I headed over to the truck to drop some gear off and see if anything was shaking in prep for the week. Low and behold, Jon Rahm had a fresh set of wedges that were just delivered, so, as I do, I had to snap some pictures…Only the 60/10 will go into play this week; for most players, the 52/56 get a bit more playing time because EXTRA fresh grooves aren’t necessary like they are with the 60.

Monday:

I woke up at 5 AM, got ready, and was at the course by 6:15 AM. If you follow Major championship golf at all, you will know that Monday early is when “you know who” will probably be around, and it was exactly that. It was a fan/media circus…SO AWESOME.

The agenda for the day was WITB pictures and covering PGA Club Pro Kyle Mendoza and Xander, who were playing a practice round together at noon. So before that kicked off, I had quite a bit of time to hit the range and check in with the lads. This is typically when I get my in-hand shots of players’ bags, check to see if there is anything new floating around, and discuss whatever TV shows we are watching at the moment. This week it’s Yellowstone. I’m convinced a good majority of our staff wants to move to Montana. 🤷🏻‍♂️

The practice round with Xander and Kyle was a blast; they know each other very well as Xander is a member at The Farms, where Kyle is the Director of Performance. In the group, we had Me, Xander, Kyle, Austin Kaiser (Xander’s caddy), Derek Uyeda (Xander’s putting coach), and “the Ogre” himself, Stephan Scahuffele. The guy is an absolute legend, guaranteed laughs.

Xander is on top of his game this week. He STRIPED it all over the golf course, and his speed with the driver has increased even more this year. He hit a couple of drives on 1, 2, and 5 well past the 340yd mark. He looks as sharp as I’ve seen him since joining Callaway.

He is also gaming a prototype Gap wedge that I was curious to see in action, he loves it, and I can see why. He hit it three times, and every shot was in a 3-foot circle. Pure.

Tuesday:

It doesn’t matter what week it is; Tuesdays are the busiest days on the Truck and pretty much everywhere else. Some players won’t get in until Monday night OR won’t realize anything is needed until they have had a day to acclimate to the course.

I walked the front 9 with Rahm and his caddy, Adam Hayes, in the afternoon. It was just the three of us which felt a bit surreal (ill explain why in a second). I absolutely adore both of these guys. Jon is always a blast to walk with because he loves to talk about golf. Anything golf. The swing, strategy, equipment, history, etc. What’s even cooler is he loves to use his imagination during practice rounds, hitting little half shots, taking full rips at drivers trying to carry something and a variety of shots around the greens. I am fortunate to have this kind of access; they are moments I will never forget.

The last time I walked with Jon on a Tuesday during a Major was last year at Torrey; it was just the three of us on that day. He put on a show…and he did it again this time. The sound of the driver, the irons, and the clip of the wedges around the greens is simply brilliant. It’s humbling to be around. When Jon is in full flight, very few players can do what he can do with a golf ball.

His vibe is relaxed, and I think winning in Mexico and not having the #1 target on his back is good. Being #1 is always the goal, but in some cases losing it can be a great motivator. I think that’s where Jon is at these days. He will get back there quickly, FYI, and when it happens, he will stay there for a LONG time.

The rest of the afternoon, I finished up my In-Hand WITB pictures, hung out with Sam Burns for a bit, and gave a few Tours of the new truck. It’s always a blast seeing people’s reaction to the new rig, for most, it’s like a golf fantasy land. I love that part of the job.

Wednesday:

If Tuesdays are intense, Wednesdays are the polar opposite. It’s only a half-day for the Tour Team as we all have to head home in the afternoon, so most of the day is spent packing up the truck and taking care of any last-minute tweaks. We did, however, take a team picture to memorialize the moment. Seeing myself in the picture with my Tour Team pulled my heartstrings slightly. I love the people I work with every week, and I’ve never felt more at home with these guys than I do now. It’s an honor being a part of this squad. I’m learning how to build a bit, so my next goal is to get one of these guys to trust me enough to get in the build area and do some work. Kellen will never allow that to happen but I will try:)

Before I took off for the airport, I made my final rounds and wished good luck to the staff. You could feel the “calm before the storm” vibe in the air, and I can’t wait to see what happens this week. Mark my words, a Callaway staffer will win this week, and from what I saw out of Jon, Xander, and Sam during prep, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was one of them.

Of all the Majors I’ve been to, I’d say this one felt the best. I have found a rhythm to this job that I enjoy, and the new kid in school feeling is long gone. I’m part of this TOUR machine, and as I walked around Southern Hills, I felt at home. That’s a good feeling.


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