When Patrick Caulfield first began volunteering for THE PLAYERS Championship in 1985, the “media center” was a makeshift space set up in the cart barn to handle the 100 or so reporters from a total of four countries. Today, as media center chairman, the retired IRS officer oversees a full-service media center that services more than 750 reporters from 190 media outlets and 20 countries.
How did you come to be involved as a PLAYERS volunteer?
A friend of mine introduced me to a friend of his at a party by the name of Tim who worked for the tour. He suggested that I volunteer with the tournament. So I did and that was in 1985. Since then, the tournament has provided funds to several other charities that I have been involved with. I see it as a win – win.
What are your responsibilities as media center chairman?
My primary duty is to oversee the media center. I have two assistant chairmen – Al Herndon and Tom Hyde – and a total of 15 volunteers in the media center. The media volunteers are there to give assistance to the media, including photographers, with any of their needs. This includes checking the media in, assisting with interviews, providing copies of player’s interviews, photo shoots, transporting the media from one place to another, working with Getty Images, etc. Basically, anything that the media needs, we will assist them with if at all possible.
Describe a typical day volunteering there.
A typical day for Al and me normally starts around 3 a.m. Tuesday through Friday – 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday – and ends about 1 to 2 hours after play. We normally pick up local news teams along with local radio personnel from the media parking lot and bring them into the tournament so they can set up for their live shots and radio shows. The other volunteers come in at 7:30 a.m.
We go through all newspapers, for example, The Times Union, The Record, Beaches Leader, USA Today, New York Times, New York Post, etc. All articles that mentions The Players are cut out, copied and assembled in a package and are available to all the press.
As the media comes into the tournament starting on Monday, we make sure they have their credentials, parking passes, etc. We help with the interviewing of players by making sure that copies of the interviews are available to all the media as soon as they are transcribed. We also transport photographers and other media to wherever they need to go throughout the golf course, assist in transporting any VIPs or charity groups and make sure that at the end of the day, all stat packages are assembled and available to all the media.
What is the biggest challenge of volunteering in this capacity?
One of the largest challenges is the amount of media we deal with and some of the time elements that we are involved with. At any point during the day, we may be called upon to act or react to certain situations that may need our immediate attention. Time may be a huge factor. We just have to be ready to respond. We have a great group of volunteers that always comes through under pressure.
What is your favorite part of being a volunteer for THE PLAYERS?
My favorite part of being a volunteer is the people that I work with. The tournament staff that I work with are incredible: Denise Taylor, Chris Reimer, Laura Neal, Joel Schuchmann and others are wonderful to work with. And the media center volunteers: I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with both on my committee and other committees. All these people make it fun and enjoyable.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy traveling and playing golf. I also volunteer at Mayo.