LACC Director Of Golf Describes 'Special' Day As US Open Playing Marker

Tom Gardner, Los Angeles Country Club's Director of Golf, was paired with Ryan Fox for the third day of the US Open

A sign reading par 3 98 yards at the US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just like the Masters, the US Open has a marker on-hand who can be called upon if there are an odd number of players making it into the weekend. At Los Angeles Country Club, that comes in the form of their Director of Golf, Tom Gardner, who played marker for Ryan Fox during the third round of the third men's Major of the year.

Gardner, who has been Director of Golf for a near decade at LACC, will also be playing marker on Sunday, with the American almost speechless following the conclusion of his third round.

Although Gardner played marker on Saturday, he very nearly wasn't needed, with the Director of Golf stating: "I was standing in back of the 18th green with a friend, and I was telling them I kind of figured out there was one golfer who was out there who's right on the cut line, and he was going to have to play 16, 17, and 18 in even par in order to stay at an even number.

"I'm refreshing my phone, and Gil Hanse comes up, and we start talking, and we're chatting and he's laughing because I keep refreshing my phone. He parred 16 and, after what seemed like forever, he birdies 17. So at that point, I go, I'm out of here. I was meeting my wife up around here for a cocktail party, so I said, I'm out of here. Said goodbye to my friends, I go to the locker room, I change, I get in my car and I'm driving. I get a text from a member, and he said, 'you're in.' I immediately called him, I said, no, I'm not. This guy birdied 17. He goes, no, he doubled 18.

"All of a sudden I started getting a lot of text messages and a lot of emails and the club sent out an email to the membership. It's fun. Thank the USGA for giving me the opportunity. It's pretty special to do this in front of your membership on the course that you work at. If you were out here this morning on the first tee, there was a pretty loud roar. Got the juices flowing a bit. And playing with Ryan, and Ryan is a good buy, hammers the ball, and we just had a good time out there, played pretty quickly. What a day. Hoping to do it all again tomorrow."

Ryan Fox watches his tee shot

Fox during the third round of the 123rd US Open

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It wasn't just Gardner who was the only LACC worker that was involved on Saturday though, as Head Professional, Rory Sweeney, caddied for Gardner. "Such a great experience," explained Sweeney who, along with Gardner, had attempted to qualify for the 123rd showing of the US Open.

"Tom is wonderful, a wonderful guy. He's our Director of Golf here, and a mad golf professional underneath him, and he's a great player. Honored to work at the club with him. He's just a great guy. To get to spend a special moment like that with him really was great."

It wasn't as if the pair were slow either, with Fox and Gardner flying round LACC, so much so that they actually finished five holes ahead of the next pairing! What's more, it wasn't like the golf was bad either, as Fox shot a one-under 69 to get to one-over for the tournament. 

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x