Posted by: John K. Abendroth
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:44 PM
Every year I get to visit with my old friend Mark Russell, PGA Tour V.P. of officials and tournament operations. The punch line to my relationship with Mark is, "...had I been a success...he may have been a failure..."
Now the rest of the story. In 1975, Mark caddied for me on the PGA tour and as a rookie my future and the future of my caddy were unknown. We had our ups and downs, made a number of cuts and I wrote Mark a few checks for $25 and up for his caddy service. He had his opinions, like me only having 3 tees in my pockets and they could only be white, none of the multi colored tees.
At the end of the year we were at the Disney Resort in Orlando which was fairly new at the time and in the last event of the year I needed to make a certain amount of money to keep my tour card, and I failed to do that. We stayed on the next week for the Tour School "Q-School" where I would hope to retain my card for the following year, and I failed. Mark was out of work and I would head home and re-access my own future.
Mark would get a job driving a jitney bus with a straw hat and bow-tie and in year two he would get a job in the outside services department for the golf resort. As I stayed in touch with Mark over the next couple of years, he worked his way up the ranks to be director of golf after a number of years and now...we see him running playoffs for the PGA Tour as the VP of Rules and Tournament Operations and even wrote his own book on the rules of golf, "The rules of golf, plain and simple."
Mark recently was on TV in a delay from Hawaii and said, "when you see me on TV, nothing good is happening." Mark has a great sense of humor, is a really good guy and glad to see him in such a great place that he enjoys and has succeed. As I have told him...had I succeed as a PGA-Tour player he may not have had the success that he has had. Fun to connect with him a couple of times as year as I do...nice to have met some great folks on the golf trail.