Local sheriff’s deputy lends hand in Augusta

Greene County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Robby McCannon has worked security at The Masters since the 2015 edition of the storied event.  

Contributed photo

By Justin Hubbard

justin@lakeoconeenews.us

 

Each year when officials at Augusta National Golf Club prepare to host The Masters, they must account for a plethora of things.

The course itself has to be prepared. Food, such as the fabled pimiento cheese sandwiches, must be brought in to feed participants and patrons alike. That’s not to mention the vast amount of tickets that need to be arranged.

But one crucial aspect of the storied event often gets overlooked: security. It’s not easy keeping an expansive facility with upward of 50,000 people secure. As such, the folks at Augusta National call in a little help.

Obviously, police from Richmond County are brought in to help keep the peace. The RCSO only has so many officers, though, so even further assistance is needed.

The RCSO reaches out to officers across the state. They check with their bosses and, upon clearance, venture to Augusta for Masters week detail.

Back in 2015, Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Robby McCannon was tabbed to serve during the event. McCannon worked security at every Masters tournament since then and served again this year.

“I got connected with one of our deputies that used to work down there,” McCannon said. “Patrick Paquette spoke with one of the captains, who's over the special events in Richmond County. You have to get invited. You can't just call and say, 'Hey, I want to come.' They actually invite you to assist the Richmond County Sheriff's Office in doing different types of security down there.”

McCannon, a Union Point native, said he is typically assigned to help monitor the main entrance gate where patrons enter.

The sheer volume of people caught McCannon off-guard the first time he worked security at The Masters.

“My first year, it was very, very overwhelming,” McCannon said. “There were people lined up, just waiting, at 6:00 in the morning waiting at the gate. The first few days of practice rounds are just as busy as the playoff itself.”

While other police officers at The Masters may have different schedules, McCannon said he normally works every day of The Masters, including qualifying rounds.

During the past four Masters tournaments, McCannon said he’s gotten to see several of the golfers up close. The officers are not permitted to engage with the golfers, though, so there have been no photo ops or autographs exchanged.

The same goes for any visiting celebrities, which McCannon said has consisted of the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Gus Malzahn.

That approach is fine for McCannon and the other officers there to work. McCannon said the overall atmosphere is rewarding enough without any special perks.

As for the grandeur of the event, McCannon said he’s never seen anything else like it.

“When the Olympics came (to Georgia) in 1996, I worked the President's detail three times,” McCannon said. “There's nothing that can compare to The Masters. There are people from all over the world at this event.”

McCannon said he never really cared for golf until Paquette got him invited to work during The Masters, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports.

He said in that regard The Masters can be a life-changing experience for anyone who attends.

“For anybody who's never experienced it, even if you don't like golf, I promise you, if you come to The Masters, you will learn to love it,” McCannon said. “I did. I was not a fan until I started down there.”

Most people must settle for viewing The Masters from the comfort of their own home. During the broadcast each year, several establishing shots of the course are shown.

You can hear and read many praises of the course’s appearance and get a general sense of its layout. However, McCannon said there’s no substitute for seeing Augusta National in person.

“It's a beautiful facility,” McCannon said. “The way that they speak about it on TV, I promise you it's 10 times better. It is beautiful. Immaculate.”

Serving on a security team at The Masters is not an easy task for McCannon and the other police officers who travel to the course each April. Luckily for McCannon, he lives close enough to drive home to his family each night.

He can’t wait to get back to Augusta, though, because he knows it’s a unique opportunity to serve at such an esteemed event.

“I look forward to it every year,” he said. “Each year, there's something different. You meet someone different every single time. And the people that are coming there are very polite, very courteous to us. It's just that overall feeling of The Masters that gets you every time. It doesn't matter how many years you've been working it, that feeling never goes away.”

Rate this article: 
Average: 1.5 (2 votes)
Breaking News: 
No