94th PGA Championship: From snack bar to Director of Golf
By Dean Stephensdstephens@abcnews4.com
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- The clock is ticking on one of the great events in golf: The 94th PGA Championship.
"We've been working on it for two and half years," said Brian Gerard. "The days are speeding up now. We are very well prepared. All the planning we've done. We've thought of every possible scenario to cover, every single base out there."
Gerard is Kiawah Island's Director of Golf and has been a part of the golf scene on the island since 1986. From selling snacks to tending to golf bags, Gerard worked his way to the head golf professional at the Ocean Course, the site of the upcoming PGA Championship.
"It's been a wonderful experience to see it evolve and come together the past two and a half years. We're in good shape and we are where we're supposed to be for championship Monday, August 6th," said Gerard.
This is not the first time the Ocean Course has hosted a world class event. In 1991, the War on the Shore pitted the U.S. vs. the World in the Ryder Cup. Gerard was the head pro at Turtle Point on Kiawah Island at the time. He had a front row seat to the event and says this year's event is bigger and better than what happened on the island 21 years ago.
"This is so much bigger in my opinion in scale to that Ryder Cup. When you talk about the build, the tents on site, the infrastructure of the event is no comparison to what we have set up here."
"The merchandise pavilion for this event is enormous. It was so small in 1991. They actually had the shirts hanging on the side of the wall and people would say I want number 14," Gerard said.
As for the impact the PGA Championship will have on the area, Gerard believes people in the Lowcountry have no idea what is to come.
"I don't think people understand how big this thing is. The world will be watching. We will be front and center in the golf world for an entire week. There will be 158 hours of live TV coverage around the world. That's huge. The place to be in the golf world will be here for the PGA Championship," said Gerard.
While the world's best players will take care of business on the course, Gerard and hundreds of others will take care of the 200 thousand spectators expected to visit the Ocean Course.
"The main thing is keeping the spectator in mind, provide the very best experience for the spectator from the ride out here from the time they are riding back," said Gerard.
And it all gets going August 6th.