2004: Perspective - First-time columnist has glazed-over look

I think Forrest Gump was dead on when he said that “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” When I was busy taking public speaking at Georgia Tech, I never thought I might be a broadcaster one day.

The first time I worked as a compensated golf analyst was for ESPN at the 1999 Air Canada Championship. The last thought that crossed my mind before airtime was, “Here I am working for the worldwide leader in sports as an analyst on a live television show that is viewed nationwide and in another 168 countries, and I made a ‘D’ in public speaking.”

I feel sort of like that right now. This is my first published article, and it is running in the most-respected periodical in golf. I never made better than a “C” in any English or literature class in college. I can only conclude that Georgia Tech is one helluva school.

So with this article, I guess it’s official. I am now a golf writer. My world has already started to change. First of all, I am starting to reallyappreciate doughnuts, especially free ones. As a PGA Tour player, I never – well, almost never – would stop and grab a doughnut on my way into the press room. (That is, on the rare occasions I actually was asked to visit the press room.) Now it seems that I’m pulled, just like the oceans to the moon, toward the tables with banquets of free food for writers, who are beckoned with coffee cake, bear claws, doughnut holes, and if you get there early enough, chocolate-covered Krispy Kremes.

The good and brave folks at Golfweek have agreed to let me produce regular installments over the next year. I will be covering hard-hitting and scintillating topics such as the demise of sansabelt slacks in golf. You remember, the kind with the western pockets that are cut parallel to the ground and have the tour slits in the hem. Fat guys would always get “rollover effect” in the waistband when they extracted the ball from the hole. Nostalgia buffs, take note. If you have a longing desire to witness “rollover effect” in this day and age, you have two options: 1. Follow an early pairing on the Champions Tour; 2. Catch Bob Murphy or Jay Randolph climbing down from a tower after an NBC broadcast.

Speaking of fat guys, this workout stuff in golf has got to stop. Tiger Woods and all his fitness disciples are turning our leisure activity into a real sport, and the ramifications are shocking. Among other things, hot dog sales have plummeted at golf courses worldwide. I never thought the day would come, but it might be possible we will see the demise of the wienie machine at the turn house. There is no sound more pleasing to the ear than the click-clicking of that little beauty as it spins those wienies under the hot lamp.

And the problem isn’t just with the guys. Annika Sorenstam is in fantastic shape. If a fight breaks out, I want her on my side. I just hope the madness stops before somebody gets hurt. Many players are in danger of serious injury because they actually have muscles. Charles Howell, for example, is one giant muscle. To hit a pitching wedge 150 yards and weigh only 155 pounds, you have to be all muscle.

When is the last time you heard of a fat guy hurting himself? Tim Herron never withdrew because of a pulled flab or a torn love handle.

I won’t even talk to my former hero Darren Clarke. Boy, did they brainwash him! Thank God for Joey Sindelar. Real men sweat fiercely when they are engaged in their favorite leisure activity. Tiger and Annika, I love y’all, but stop turning golfers into athletes.

As you can see, I’ve got a lot to say. My subjects will vary. If constant food references and redneck humor are an issue for you, skip my column and read Brad Klein. Occasionally I may come up with something substantive, informative or insightful. I can assure you that it will have been entirely by accident.

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