DUBLIN, Ohio (WCMH) — Mike Tedhams has been a volunteer at the Memorial Tournament for 37 years and 36 of those have been on the 12th hole.
“There’s just something about it! I just stayed here,” Tedhams said. “I’ve always said this is the signature hole. I’ve always told people I have the best seat in the house for golf.”
About seven years after Mike found his spot on 12, Rick Bayless joined him followed by Mike Hazlett and the trio have been marshaling the 12th hole together for nearly 30 years.
“I don’t let them quit!” Tedhams said with a laugh from the group.
They’ve been through health scares together like when Hazlett returned to the course not long after bypass surgery
“He’s the only one who has ever had a heart attack on my hole,” Tedhams said while Hazlett giggled and replied, “Yeah! I wouldn’t even let them take me to the hospital! . . . I didn’t want my wife to find out!”
The three men have become a family and even when Rick moved away from Ohio to South Carolina, the 12th hole hangout held strong.
“We stick together, we stay together, we talk to each other,” Bayless said.
After almost three decades, and enough stories to fill three more, there is one memory that stands out to them all: Payne Stewart in 1999 carded a 10 on the par-3 12th hole about five months before his untimely death.
“He went across the water, came back across the water, put it back in the water,” Tedhams said staring out at the hole like he was watching it happen again. “Payne Stewart to me was the ultimate.”
“Payne Stewart is probably the top one because he handled that situation with such class,” Bayless said. “During a practice round he was sitting with a bunch of kids and his playing partners asked if he wanted them to wait, and he told them, ‘No, go ahead!’ so he could stay with the kids.”
Through all the fantastic shots, frustrating misses and famous athletes, the highlight for these friends each year is seeing their Memorial Tournament troop.
“This is the only time we see each other when we’re out here,” Tedhams said with a smile.
“It’s an awesome honor to do this,” said Bayless. “And that’s why we do it.”