PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – They make the tournament go. The legion of volunteers at The Players Championship are one of the most integral parts of the event. This week, we’re looking at several longtime volunteers who are celebrating tournament milestones in 2021.
The moment is still fresh in Lynn Herbert’s mind.
After all, it remains a small part of tournament history, a hole-in-one on the iconic No. 17 island green. Only nine times have golfers recorded an ace on that hole. Herbert had a perfect view of one of those, carded by Paul Azinger in the third round of the 2000 event.
At the time, it was just the fifth hole-in-one on No. 17. Herbert, now in her 35th as a volunteer with the tournament, was right there to witness it.
“Paul was so nice, he turned around and hugged me and the standard bearer, and he said, ‘you know, there’s nothing like this.’ As far as this many people watching one hole, and the hole sound and effect. He was just so genuine about it, such a nice person. It really touched me,” she said.
Herbert spent four years in various volunteer roles before becoming a walking scorer in 1991 and has been in that position since. She’s been in groups for two champions, Tim Clark in 2010 and Martin Kaymer in 2014.
Herbert said that the changes during her tenure have been drastic.
When she began, shot tracking was rudimentary. Walking scorers charted the shots, but did so on a clipboard with little tear strips on them that they handed to scorekeepers at the end of a hole. Now, fans around the world can follow and see every single swing, essentially as it happens.
“And now it’s real time, I mean you know exactly when Tiger Woods hits the ball on 18. The ball lands, I hit, ‘shot hit,’ … a laser operator lasers that ball, and you know exactly immediately how far he hit it, 247 yards, and he’s got 185 to go to the hole,” she said. “So, there’s so much [that’s changed]. Everything is just right on time and you know what’s going on, where before you had to wait till you get to the end of the hole and then the information will be sent down.”