Jerry Weakley ‘Masters’ marshal role

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Jerry Weakley ‘Masters’ marshal role

Story by Kyle Davis

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Every time Jerry Weakley stands at the eighth hole of Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters Golf Tournament, he has short-tempered golfers to thank.

As a small boy living across from a golf course, the first three golf clubs Weakley owned were those he got out of trees angry golfers at the course threw them into. He also found golf balls that had been hit into his family’s yard, and began to play.

Not only has Weakley, Baker University’s vice president for endowment and planned giving, continued to play to this day, but since 1994, Weakley has worked as a marshal for the Masters as a part of the gallery guard committee.

“Every time I walk on that golf course, I am immediately taken by its natural beauty,” Weakley said. “Its design and everything about it just is in my way of thinking the very finest designed golf course in this world.”

Weakley got the job after meeting a retired military colonel who knew a person on the committee. The colonel gave the person Weakley’s name, and he was hired. His job description is long, but includes quieting the crowd, assisting in first aid and assisting the golfers when requested. 

Weakley arrived for work at 6:30 a.m. Monday for the first day of practice rounds before the tournament began Thursday.

Since Weakley works hole No. 8, he still has time, after all the golfers have passed through his hole, to become a spectator.

“Depending on how the tournament is going, sometimes I try to rush and get home and get in front of the TV so I can watch five or six holes simultaneously,” Weakley said. “If there’s a runaway or something like that or somebody I really, really like, sometimes I’ll just follow them and follow them all the way to 18.”

As if working arguably the most famous and historic of the PGA’s major tournaments wasn’t enough, for one day a year in May, Weakley is an honorary member of the exclusive Augusta National Golf Club.

All the marshals return to Augusta, have access to the clubhouse and champions locker room, can play the main course once and the par three course as many times as they please. Weakley has made the trip back to Augusta to play the course 15 of his 17 years as a marshal.

Kevin Kunde, Baker University sports information director, grew up around the sport of golf, playing since he was a kid and having a stepfather who was a golf pro. Kunde has never played at Augusta National, but the course is at the top of his list, and he knows the Masters well.

“I think it’s just a weird tournament because if you win that tournament, you’re almost like immortal. You become a king,” Kunde said. “You get the green jacket, you get to go to a place no one else can play and you’re an honorary member. I just think it’s the tournament that brings the best out in everyone.”

Weakley is in Augusta, Ga., for the 18th consecutive year, still feeling fortunate for the opportunity he’s been given to step foot on hole No. 8 year after year at Augusta National and be a part of the competition for the green jacket.

“The amazing ability that these golfers have is not lost on me,” Weakley said.