Meeting a professional golfer is a dream of many of the sport’s fans, and for many it may be a realistic goal -- particularly if you attend or live near a pro tournament. Keep in mind that elite pro golfers are approached frequently, and often by people only interested in obtaining an autograph that they can sell online. Many pros are also busy, particularly before or during a tournament, so fans are advised to be polite and respectful of the golfer’s time.
If you’re trying to get a player’s autograph at a tournament, golf writer Ron Kaspriske says there are a few tricks fans can use to catch a player’s attention. He suggests studying up on the golfer or golfers you’re interested in meeting, then saying something about their career or off-course interests. Fans should be prepared with a felt tip pen and something the player can sign easily, and should ask players to personalize the signature with your name to help assure them you’re not seeking the autograph for the purpose of selling it. Many tournaments set up special areas where players may sign autographs if they wish.
The pro golfer many would most like to meet is Tiger Woods. Golf writer Mark Soltau says Woods will often stop to sign autographs after practice rounds. He advises fans to take a spot near the gallery ropes heading away from the 18th green. Soltau says your chances of meeting Woods on these occasions are greater if you’re a child or you’re dressed to stand out, perhaps even wearing a tiger costume. Woods may also sign autographs after a tournament round at the event’s designated autograph location.
One sure-fire way to meet a pro golfer is to play in a pro-am event. Of course, if you’re the “am” in a pro-am, it’ll likely cost you several thousand dollars. PGA Tour pro-ams may charge $4,000 to $5,000 for the privilege of joining three or four other amateurs plus one PGA Tour pro. If you can afford the price, you’ll have the chance to spend several hours with the pro, have your photo taken with him, and get a close-up look at just how much better a tour pro is than mere golfing mortals.
Many top pro golfers are paid very well by sponsors. One way some of those players repay the sponsors is by appearing at promotional events. For example, Bubba Watson appeared at a Norsdstrom store in Bethesda, Maryland, prior to the 2011 U.S. Open. If you live near a pro tour stop, watch the local media for news of promotional activities that tie in with the tournament, or check out the websites of your favorite players or their sponsors.