My favorite autograph story

HONOLULU – Every tournament has its own way of having former champions leave their marks, quite often with autographs. More times than not, those autographs come with a traditional background – a photo, a flag, a program.

But when it comes to adding local flavor to the tradition, it’s tough to beat the attraction they have here at the Sony Open in Hawaii: Two surfboards autographed by the 2009 winner, Zach Johnson, are propped against the wall of the media center.

It’s a pretty cool sight – especially when less than 100 yards to your right the magnificent Pacific Ocean dominates your attention – but it brought to mind perhaps my favorite autograph story. It occurred at the British Open several years ago when Colin Montgomerie came into the interview room and noticed so many distinguished autographs written onto the top of the table.

Immediately, Montgomerie grabbed a marker and thought he’d add his autograph. Only the then press secretary of the Royal & Ancient, Stewart McDougall, reached out and put a halt to that.

“I’m sorry, Colin, it’s for champions only,” McDougall said.

Take that, Monty. And you can’t sign the surfboards, either.

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