No one would argue that this year’s U.S. Open Championship at Congressional Country Club wasn’t memorable. The fact is, it was downright historic. Twenty-two year-old Rory McIlroy took a dozen new records – and one of the most prestigious titles in professional golf -- home with him to Northern Ireland.
But, for Montgomery County Police Officers Lawrence (Larry) Haley and Thomas (Tom) Chuckerel, it was memorable for other reasons.
First, they were part of a four-man security detail assigned to McIlroy during the final round of the U.S. Open. And, they continued on with him as he conducted post-championship interviews at the Media Center and the Clubhouse at Congressional.
But their day with the champ wasn’t over. Haley and Chuckerel (with glasses in photo) were invited to an exclusive dinner which included not only the young champion, but his father, caddie, two friends from Ireland and members of his management team. And, what was on the menu for the new U.S. Open champion? Chicken, French fries, mashed potatoes, rice and corn.
Officer Haley said everyone at the dinner was friendly. “His father said to me, ‘Thanks for looking out for my boy.’”
Officer Chuckerel said he spoke with McIlroy’s father about a relative [of Chuckerel’s] who had gone to medical school in Ireland. “It was really, really cool,” he said. “The entire world’s eye was on Congressional that week, and to be there with him in such a small intimate setting, maybe 12 people, that’s something I never expected.” But, for Chuckerel, a martial arts enthusiast, there was an added attraction. He met Shane McMahon, formerly of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) fame, who is now an executive with McIlroy’s management company.
Both men were impressed by the champion’s down-to-earth character. Officer Haley commented, “In person he is exactly as he has been described -- nice, respectful, cordial…a genuinely nice person. I hope he doesn’t change, and I don’t think that he will.”
Officer Haley summed up his day. “This was by far my favorite work assignment, and I’ve had some great assignments with this police department!”
And, Officer Chuckerel enthused, “The whole experience was totally amazing!”
Although both Haley and Chuckerel are golfers, they said they weren’t able to pick up any tips from the young Irishman’s game. They were too busy focusing on their job of player security, which meant watching everything around them except McIlroy’s historic performance.
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED AT: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:30:00 PM