James Kometani And Dean Scheid

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - January 25, 2006
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James Kometani And Dean Scheid
James Kometani And Dean Scheid

Sony Open volunteer vice-chairs James Kometani and Dean Scheid oversee four division heads and about 35 committee chairs who manage more than 1,500 volunteers - and they’ve decided to do it again next year.

“If we are not in a position to give large amounts of money, if we can spend an entire week helping at the Sony Open for 2005, we will give more than $1 million to Hawaii charities,” says Scheid, a golfer who started out as a course marshal in the then-Hawaiian Open 15 years ago.

Kometani handles everything outside the course including registration, transportation, the pro-am tournament, banquet and concierge service.

Scheid is in charge of everything inside the course including marshals, shot line people, and the folks who put up the ropes. For Scheid, a Hawaii Kai resident, one of the benefits of volunteering is getting to know several of the pro players he’s read about and seen on TV such as Fred Funk, Tom Lehman and Steve Jones.


Scheid notes that 15 percent of the volunteers are here vacationing from the Mainland, and 10 percent are from the military.

The challenge of working with so many volunteers is eased by the fact that quite a few have been helping out for a long time.

“It really helps having the same people back,” says Kometani, an Alewa Heights resident who reckons he may be on his 30th year of volunteering. His first assignment at the Hawaiian Open was as assistant chairman for facilities, which meant he had to put ice water on all of the 18 tees for the pros to drink. He says he’s proud of all of the other volunteers, including his Mid-Pacific classmate Bob Tsumura, who was honored as a PGA Volunteer of the Year a couple of years ago.

Kometani, who still runs his own real estate firm, touts the tournament’s child care program for players’ kids.


“The ladies who manage the child care want to teach the children the Hawaiian culture,” Kometani says, noting that keiki education has included hula, lo’i, paddling and a trip to the Bishop Museum exhibit on volcanoes.

Kometani says he heard several years ago that people thought only a select group can volunteer for the Sony Open.

“We welcome anyone who wants to help,” he says. Volunteers can call 523-7888 or log onto www.friend-sofhawaii.org

-Linda Dela Cruz

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