The moment all of The First Tee junior golfers have been waiting for: finding out which Champions Tour professional they will join in the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Joshua Stockwell from The First Tee of the Sandhills, shares his story from the tournament pairing party:
“Finding out which Champions Tour professional I would be paired with has been one of the most anticipated events of the Nature Valley First Tee Open experience. Looking over the impressive list of names and imagining what it would be like to play with any of these legends of golf leaves you with the thought that there is no way you could be disappointed with any pairing you receive.
The night started when we met on the legendary 18th green at Pebble Beach with The Band Perry. The area had been transformed with tables and a concert stage. As the names were called, we went on stage to receive a sealed envelope containing the name of our professional partner. As Peter Jacobsen, who I met at breakfast that morning, called out the names of all the junior players, he called out my name. Instead of shaking my hand and just saying congratulations, though, he brought me up to the microphone to say that I had never been on a plane before this week and what better opportunity would there be for a first flight. It was a little awkward for me to be called out, but I didn’t mind because Mr. Jacobsen is just the kind of person that relaxes you in situations like that.
We had been instructed not to open our envelopes until Mr. Jacobsen said it was time. So, the wait continued and the anticipation mounted. Finally, as all 81 of us stood on stage holding those sealed green envelopes, the moment had arrived. Mr. Jacobsen invited Mr. Jon Nudi, president of the General Mills Snacks division, up to initiate the “grand opening.” Music played to build the excitement, he gave the word, and we ripped them open to find out the names of our pros.
My professional partner is Craig Stadler, and I can’t be more excited about being paired with “The Walrus!” I have been watching Craig Stadler for a long time. I have seen him play throughout the years and he seems like a great guy and an excellent player. I cannot wait to play with him this week! Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Mr. Stadler tonight but I am sure I will see him around before Friday’s round. I hope to be able to pick the brain of Stadler to get a better idea of what it takes to become a pro from one of the greats. Walking inside the ropes with someone who has been so successful through the years is an amazing opportunity! Thank you to all the sponsors, especially Nature Valley, General Mills and Hamburger Helper for making tonight’s event possible. This will definitely be a week to remember!”
–Joshua Stockwell, The First Tee of the Sandhills