Catching Tiger by the Tail

Every professional sport has a start to the season, or in the case of golf, the Masters in Augusta, Ga. will serve as the first of four major championships during the year for the PGA. The Masters is an invitation-only event, but security is not taken lightly.

This year, the Masters and security will go hand in hand. This year, Tiger Woods will make his return to the links after a lengthy and conspicuous leave of absence.

The venue, the Masters, is always held at the Augusta National Golf Club. And for security experts, it presents a large amount of space and thousands of fans, but hopefully, minimal problems.

With Woods returning to competition next week, the focus is on security preparations.

At last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club, Phil Mickelson shared the fairways with a former FBI agent, who now works for the PGA tour as part of the security group composed entirely of ex-FBI agents, a group that was formed in 1997 -- the year after Tiger Woods won his first Masters.

At Bay Hill, the security staff included the former FBI group, 65 officers from the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office and another 160 security volunteers and 70 private agents from the local security company to keep professional golfers safe.

Because PGA Tour officials want to ensure Woods and his competitors enjoy their employment free of hecklers and in the worse case, physical harm, security services have been working diligently to find ways to increase security without turning Augusta National into a police state.

Augusta National officials will not comment on security plans in place. They never have, but what is known is that entry onto the club grounds will be tight. It always has been that way and you can expect a large and experienced contingent of uniformed and plainclothes guards from the Pinkertons, who will help Tiger from being caught by the tail.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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