If you’ve been to TPC Deere Run in the last 14 years then you’ve seen the work of Jose Rodriguez. 

“I really like to mow grass so this is the right place,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez works on the grounds crew. He prefers to stay behind the scenes, but this week he was brought into the spotlight.

Not only was he named the TPC Deere Run Employee of the Year, he was named employee of the year for the whole Tournament Players Club system. 

“I really don’t have no words for them. I was nervous and excited. It was a big surprise,” said Rodriguez.

“He’s the one that everybody wants to work with,” said Alex Stuedemann, director of golf course maintenance at TPC Deere Run. 

He says having Rodriguez on his crew is especially important when preparing for the John Deere Classic.

“We can get tunnel vision and just start to focus on the bad things and the negative things. Jose can make just one little comment and everybody’s laughing,” said Stuedemann.

As part of the award, the PGA Tour will donate $1,000 to the charity of Rodriguez’s choice.

He’s picked local animal shelters. But he also gets $1,000 for himself. 

And he already knows how he’s going to spend it. 

“I’m going to save it to go and see my mom around Christmas because I haven’t seen her in a while and I think it’s time,” he said.

And while a vacation is much deserved, he has no plans to stop working any time soon.

“I’d like to be here until the last minute. It’s like a family for me here. I could not be more happy to be in this place.”