Carson City’s Knighton keeps peace as marshal at Barracuda
RENO — Four years ago, David Knighton retired from his job in San Diego and moved to Northern Nevada to be near family.
“I didn’t want to live in Southern California,” he said. “It was getting so crowded and too expensive. My sister lived in Dayton, and she was caring for our mother. I came out, liked the area and decided to live in Carson City.
“I saw an advertisement on the Northern Nevada Golf Association website for volunteers for the golf tournament, and it looked like a fun thing to do.”
And, the Barracuda Championship found itself another volunteer.
Knighton is one of approximately 650 volunteers who help make the tournament run smoothly each year.
Knighton, a men’s club member at Silver Oak and Empire Ranch, is starting his fourth season as a volunteer at the Barracuda Championship, and it’s an event he looks forward to every year. He’s a marshal on the par-4 14th.
“Two years ago I was a walking marshal for the pro-ams,” Knighton said. “They just wanted a volunteer with each group. I got to meet Padraig Harrington and Jason Gore.
“I would converse a little bit with them between shots. Padriag was pretty friendly, and so was Jason.”
A marshal’s job mainly is to control noise and movement around the players, and since Knighton is stationed around the green that becomes even more important.
“It’s not a hard job,” Knighton said. “I worked in security before. I found that conversing (and being friendly) with the fans helps when you need them to stop walking and/or talking.”
And last year, Knighton, played emergency medic.
“There was a lady here with her husband, and a ball came down and hit her right in the head,” Knighton said. “Her head started to bleed. We had a compress on her head and the bleeding stopped. It wasn’t a huge cut.
“The player that hit the ball was shook up and all apologetic. I think he ended up bogeying the hole.”
What’s amazing is Knighton never worked at a golf tournament in Southern California despite the fact Torrey Pines hosted a yearly event.
“I went to tournaments when I lived in San Diego, but just as a spectator,” he said.
Given that he lived in San Diego, it’s no surprise Knighton likes Phil Mickelson. Knighton said he saw Mickelson when he first came on the PGA Tour.
Another reason Knighton likes Mickelson is Knighton also plays golf left-handed. He currently has a 12.8 index up from a 10.
“I’ve been playing golf about 50 years,” said the 68-year-old Knighton. “My dad got me started when I was 17 or 18. I golf left-handed and do everything else right-handed.
“I play twice a week (with his men’s club) and then once in a while I will play another round somewhere,” he said.
With such an interest in the sport, it’s a natural Knighton would eventually gravitate toward working a golf tournament.