March 2, 2005 - Just how much work goes into organizing a PGA tour-sponsored event? If anyone can answer that question it would be Pat Miller of the Omni Tucson National Golf and Spa Resort.
Miller's career as the director of golf at the Omni began in July when his former boss packed his bags and moved to Minnesota. The self-proclaimed outdoorsman, Miller was a perfect fit for the job, despite having worked at the Omni for only five months as the head golf pro.
Hired a week before the start of last year's Chrysler Classic, Miller was hurtled blindly into the massive event that annually attracts upwards of 100,000 people to the Omni during the course of a week.
"Even though I was wearing a (Omni personnel) badge," says Miller, looking back on his first classic when he was a rookie, "if someone asked where a room was, I couldn't tell them because I just didn't know."
An old adage says that when it rains, it pours. That was certainly true for Miller and the staff of the Omni last year, as rain and bad timing caused the tourney a few roadblocks.
Merchandise for the pro shop, a staple at any PGA event, arrived late. Given a week's worth of rain, muddy floors and a shortage of towels, things at the Omni weren't running as smoothly as Omni officials had hoped.
A year later, things are much different. Miller has mastered not only the layout of the Omni but many of the intricacies it takes to stage the annual PGA event in its 60th year in Tucson, as well.
This year, the merchandise was ordered by the summer and arrived in early January. Miller can thank his notes for that. He documents every little detail that either works well or needs to improve at the next year's tourney. By the opening day of this year's classic, Miller said he already had a substantial file of things to change for 2006.
"We've had no big fires," said Miller of this year's tourney, "just a bunch of little fires."
Others are taking notice.
"This year things just seem to be running smoother," said Omni Housekeeping Manager Elizabeth Colvin.
Miller will be the first to point out, however, that most of the credit for executing a successful classic goes to the volunteer groups. This year's event features about 1,000 workers, most working 12-hour shifts with little or no breaks.
During the week of the classic, Miller will start his day at about 5:30 a.m. and will work straight through to about 9 p.m.
"If you ever want to lose a few pounds," said Miller, "put together a Chrysler Classic." Miller jokingly said the constant running around will shave off about 10 pounds from his physique.
Away from work, Miller will keep in shape with either of his two passions: golf and fishing.
Originally from Montana, Miller said the prospect of 12 whole months of sun and playing golf throughout the year was enough to lure him to Arizona.
In the future, however, Miller said he will return to Montana and the sporting life. Perhaps one day he'll be able to live out his perfect day, a round of golf in the morning and fly-fishing in the afternoon.
Years from now when future Omni golf directors are planning the year's Chrysler Classic, they'll have Miller to thank for many of its seamless transitions. They won't be able to find him, however. He'll be either out on the course or wading a river.