Posted at 1:24 PM on April 6, 2007
by Andrew Haeg
In a previous life, not terribly long ago, I was a golf nut ... and had the pleasure of working at the epicenter of my passion, Golf Magazine. I met famous golfers, and played at some amazing courses. But, as time passed, I realized I wanted to be a real journalist; and I found it harder and harder to take six hours out of a Saturday or give over a weekday night to the game I loved.
My enthusiasm for the game also waned as the rest of the country's waxed, with the rise of Tiger Woods. A round started to take 5 hours or more, cost more than $80--the whole pursuit became a lot less relaxing. Meanwhile the characters on the pro circuit began to seem blander, hyper-competitive and characterless--they'd become working stiffs trying to chase Tiger.
Gone were the days of the swashbuckling Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, the flinty Tom Watson, the flamboyant Texan Payne Stewart. Taking their place were the milquetoast Phil Mickelson, the one-track minded Tiger Woods, the inscrutable Vijay Singh. All nice people, I'm sure. But not very inspiring to me as sportsmen.
Still, during The Master's my dormant enthusiasm for the game re-awakens, and I find myself gripping a highlighter like a 3-iron and parcticing my swing with the phantom club near my cubicle (yes there are cubicles in public radio land). And today I was provided another moment to dwell in my prior fervor for the game, with an article about one of the few real characters left on the Tour (and he doesn't even play golf anymore!). Take a read, you'll learn something.