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Top standard bearer at THE PLAYERS is golden

7:08 PM, May 9, 2013   |    comments
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- It's a sign of their times, whether really good or, less than. In pro golf, your status follows you constantly.
     
Maybe it lessens the blow of a bad score knowing these standard bearers are all really nice local kids.

Perhaps the nicest is Matt Smith. In a sea of green, his is the gold standard.

"The perks of being standard bearer of the year is I get the gold standard, stands out a little more," he said.

He's volunteered for this job five years now.

"It's really competitive to get in. You volunteer on the stroke of midnight on New Years Day and get in line."

But once you're in, you're in.

And his Ponte Vedra High School GPA, community service and job well done earned him the top spot this year.

"The standard bearer of the year, I get last year's champ. Just so happens Tiger (Woods) and Brandt (Snedeker) are in my group too."
   
He said he's supposed to stay in the background. But sometimes, players chat with him. Others are a bit more steely eyed.

Besides, Smith is more focused on the burn of carrying a 10-pound sign for 18 holes.

"By the back nine, you really feel it in your arms, just keep moving, crowd keeps you pumped up."

And crowds, he'll have plenty. Considering he's walking with last year's champ Matt Kuchar, Snedeker and Woods, there should be enough energy to get him through.


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