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PGA Tour welcomed UWF Communication students

April 15, 2019 | Hannah Gainer |

UWF Communication students recently covered the 2019 Rapiscan Systems Classic, a branch of the PGA Senior tour.

On March 29, University of West Florida Communication students covered the 2019 Rapiscan Systems Classic, a branch of the PGA Senior tour in Saucier, Mississippi.

During the Spring 2019 semester, the students took a sports reporting class with Dr. Willie Tubbs, assistant professor of communication. When the opportunity was presented to Tubbs, he wanted to make it available to his students.

Interviewing well known figures is something that the students have been getting used to. During the semester, Tubbs welcomed professional athletes to his sports reporting classes for student interviews. These athletes have included bare-knuckle boxer Juan Torres to former twelve-year NFL veteran Fred Robbins.

Tubbs realized that he could offer his students another unique opportunity by getting them media credentials to the Rapiscan System Classic.

"I wanted to give some of our students a first-hand look at what it's like to cover a national sporting event,” said Tubbs. “I can't thank the good people at the Rapiscan Systems Classic enough, Mary Wester and (media coordinator) Frank Kay most notably. They gave our students a unique learning experience that won't soon be forgotten.”

 "Having an opportunity like this and seeing behind the scenes of such a big event, is something not many students get.” - McKenna Olivet

The students were welcomed to the official tent dedicated for media participation. McKenna Olivet, one of the UWF student participants, said, “Having an opportunity like this and seeing behind the scenes of such a big event, is something not many students get.”

While at the tournament, the students were able to get a behind-the-scenes look at what occurs at a nationally-televised sporting event, shadow media professionals and cover the first day of the tournament. They gained the experience of working as a media member for a large event that gave them an upfront view of professional golfers as well as a chance to interview them.

The students received the opportunity to work alongside the local television crew from WLOX, in order to find volunteers with interesting stories and to interview those volunteers.

Tyler Wood, another UWF student participant, had the opportunity to cover the first day of the tournament for the Biloxi Sun Herald.

“Covering the event for the Sun Herald was a really good opportunity for me to add to my resume. I enjoyed working alongside other media members and meeting some of the coordinators for the tournament,” said Wood.

The pro golf tournament featured some of the biggest names to ever play the sport, such as Fred Couples, Vijay Singh and Colin Montgomerie.

The PGA Tour is the organizer of the leading golf tours played in the United States and North America. The Rapiscan Systems Classic is a golf tournament on the PGA Tour Champions in southern Mississippi. The Champions Tour is a membership organization of professional golfers age 50 years and older. Fallen Oaks golf course featured 18 holes winding through the forest outside of Desoto National Forest, about an hour north of Biloxi, Mississippi.

The UWF students wrapped up their day by interviewing the tournaments winner, Kevin Sutherland, after receiving pointers from the other trained media professionals.  

Tubbs stated that he has plans on bringing a different group of students again next year and hopes it can be the start of a new tradition.

“Tubbs has been able to give his students so many great opportunities to cover real events and meet some great people, so for him to continue that in the future would only add to the experience for his students,” said Wood.

For more information on the UWF Department of Communication, 850.474.2874 or