FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Apparently, paying customers are become increasingly dissatisfied with simply attending a golf tournament and watching the competition. Their new favorite pastime: sneaking into media centers.
Less than two weeks after an enterprising autograph seeker snuck into the interview room at the Memorial Tournament and interrupted the press conference featuring winner Tiger Woods and tournament host Jack Nicklaus, no fewer than four fans with grounds passes found their way into the large media tent Friday during the U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park. However, unlike the fan at Muirfield Village Golf Club, the four fans at Bethpage didn't disrupt any of the proceedings.
Thanks for that goes to longtime security advisor Guy Scheipers, a retired Air Force Special Ops officer who helps with security detail at select USGA and PGA Tour events. Scheipers, 57, who has been working security at golf tournaments since 1991, nabbed two fans just before the start of the day's first interview with former British Amateur champion Drew Weaver. Scheipers noticed two men seated in the front row of the interview room around 11 a.m. EDT, remembered what had happened at the Memorial, and asked them for their press badges. To paraphrase a famous movie line, they didn't have no stinking badges. Scheipers booted them, but not before finding out that the two had somehow gotten past a security detail at the entrance to the media compound, and then gained entrance via the back players' entrance to the interview room.
Before Scheipers had time to find another guard to watch that door, two more spectators tried to get in to take photos of each other on the podium.
"It's amazing, really, that these people are just finding a way around things," said Scheipers, who, incidentally, was let go in December by the PGA Tour at most of its events this year in a budget-saving move. "And if they're getting in here, you wonder what else is going on out there (on the course). The key is staying on top of things."
And that Scheipers appears to be doing quite well.