JDC Standard Bearers get close to the pros

Everyone wants to get close to their favorite players, but there’s one job at the John Deere Classic that may just get you the best seat in the house — if you’re willing to walk.

For volunteers like Ron Fritz, the walk starts even before the course.

“Wear comfortable shoes,” he advised.

Fritz is one of nearly 115 standard bearers at the tournament. His tasks include following the players and caddies around the course while carrying a sign with the golfers’ names, pointing to the name of the golfer taking a shot, and keeping scores updated on his sign.

“You watch them for several days out here, playing how it should be played, and then, the first time I go out after the golf tournament and play, it’s like, ‘Did you not learn anything?'” laughed Fritz.

And there aren’t many volunteer jobs that get you closer to the action.

“I’ve had Zach Johnson, I’ve had John Daily, I’ve had Watson. I’ve had a few in all the years, yeah,” recalled Norma McCoy.

This year marks McCoy’s 21st year of volunteering at the Classic. Originally from Coal Valley, Illinois, she now lives in Florida and flies to the Quad Cities each year for the tournament.

“I missed it. It was hard watching it on TV, just sitting on my couch. I could say, ‘Oh, I know where that hole is, I know where that place is.’ I really did miss it,” said McCoy.

Trunks at the standard bearers’ tent are signed by hundreds of past volunteers — a testament to the friendship of the tight-knit crew.

“We have a lot of fun out here,” said McCoy.

Despite long days and miles of walking, the group agrees it’s all worth it for a chance to witness tournament history up close.


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