The 2019 Masters Tournament provided a great moment in the history of sports with Tiger Woods’ win at Augusta National Golf Club. During his final round, he took what many are calling the “shot of his life” at the par-3 16th hole. Behind the ropes at the tee, Michael Phelps was watching on. At the green, Owensboro’s Terry Delk was writing this memory as his favorite Masters tournament.
“It’s my favorite week of the year,” Delk said.
In 2005, Delk and his wife Melody were sitting in the stands of the 16th hole when Woods was in the same situation. Prior to their trip to the Masters, Delk had made the request to his wife that, to celebrate their anniversary, they attend all four PGA major events for the year. As Woods’ chip shot rolled down the slope and hung on the lip of the cup and then dropped in, Melody made her decision.
“I actually didn’t see the ball fall in the hole because the guy in front of me stood up,” Delk said. “But she did and that was all it took.”
The couple embarked on their tour of major golf championships, going to St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland to witness Jack Nicklaus’s last round from the front row of the 18th green.
“We stood in line for two hours to be in the front row,” Delk said.
The couple stayed in a bed and breakfast that had recently opened and in another room in the house was a gentleman who, after meeting Delk and learning of his passion for golf and that he had attended 13 Masters tournaments to date, got Delk on the next year as a volunteer at the Masters tournament.
“It was a blessing from God, that’s him saying he blessed me…so be good,” Delk said.
Delk felt even more blessed that he was positioned at the 16th hole, a place he has been for 14 years during the tournament. Part of Delk’s job was to be there for the spectators and to know what to in emergency situations such as player evacuations during severe weather.
The 2019 tournament was his first year to move to the green, thanks to a veteran volunteer retiring after 25 years.
“I have a front-row seat to history,” Delk said of not only Woods’ shot, but each year that he works the event.
As a general rule, the 350 volunteers do not interact with the players as they are there to control crowds and work the crosswalks. But they do get the privilege of having an unobstructed view, something that put Delk on the path to this job. And once in, guards are allowed to return every year.
It isn’t easy to get these jobs, although interested parties can send a letter and a resume to the Augusta National Golf Club. Because of Delk, his friend David Baker became a gallery guard on the 14th hole after seven years.
Each May, before Augusta National closes for the summer, volunteers are invited back to the course and get to play for “Appreciation Day.” Delk has not missed one of these events, either.
A homebuilder, PGA apprentice and owner and head golf pro at the Pearl Club (at the Summit) since 2013, Delk enjoys attending golf tournaments and has attended several historical events, including three that made him cry.
“Arnold Palmer’s final round at the Masters, when Nicklaus walked off and hugged his son and the moment of silence taken for the London bombing [at the Open Championship at St. Andrews],” Delk said.
And, he adds, when he makes a bad shot on the course.
“I’m blessed to be here,” Delk said. “I’m very blessed to be there for history.”