When you host a PGA Golf Tournament, the security is a BIG deal. I talked with the main man of security at The Wyndham Championship yesterday, of course, we’re talking about Guilford County’s finest-Sheriff B.J. Barnes. According to B.J. planning for the tournament started the day last year’s tournament ended, literally. The planning had a little hitch-the possible move back to Sedgefield. With that in mind the Sheriff had to have two plans 1. Forest Oaks Tournament 2. Sedgefield Tournament. The Forest Oaks plan was a “no brainer” for it had been secured at that location for years. Now, comes the hitch-Sedgefield Tournament-The big challenge for Sedgefield planning is the lack of space immediately on the course. At Forest Oaks, the Command Center was located at the tennis courts-adjacent to the clubhouse and right in the middle of the crowds and course traffic. At Sedgefield, the Command Center is at the tennis courts……..but these courts are at minimum 1/4 mile from the closest golf area. With that in mind, you will see some officers on bicycles to help in being more mobile. Lots of roads will have to be blocked of to traffic and parking will be off-site, with shuttle services used.
The tournament is a multi-agency project including 1. The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department 2. The N.C. Highway Patrol 3. The Greensboro Police Department 4. Emergency Medical Services 5. Volunteer Fire Members. B.J. said that at any one time 30-50 uniformed officers will be on duty and doing their job, quietly and professionally. You know law enforcement is doing their job when you don’t notice their presence.
The Sheriff emphasized that everyone have fun, but not to forget that it is August and it will be HOT…..just how hot is the question. With that in mind, he suggests several common sense things to do-hydrate your body before and during the event[alcohol does not count or help in hydration for the consumers in the audience], wear hats, sunglasses and shorts-your normal beach attire to help stay cool.
During our conversation, I found out that B.J. is a BIG golf fan-no pun intended-I’m a BIG golf fan, too. If you saw us together, you’d get the picture! He toured the course earlier in the week and saw lots of Sedgefield folks on the course. He says they are really excited to have big time golf back at Sedgefield and received lots of invites to stop back during the tournament. If it just wasn’t for being in charge of all that darned security!
At the end of our talk, B.J. emphasized that he wants everyone to have fun and stay safe. He truly hopes the tournament can become what it once was-one of the Top 10 events on tour. If you see B.J. out there, be sure to say “hello” and if you don’t notice the troops that is just fine with him-they will be doing their job.
*****from Jim Modlin covering The Wyndham for GREENSBOROSports.com*****