The Forecaddie: Rick Reilly returns to golf

Rick Reilly/The Forecaddie The Forecaddie/Golfweek

The Forecaddie: Rick Reilly returns to golf

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The Forecaddie: Rick Reilly returns to golf

Sitting on a Players Championship media shuttle bus, The Forecaddie heard a boisterous gent wearing a “Pray For Birdies” flat-brimmed cap and looking eerily like Rick Reilly. The Man Out Front soon was amazed to learn the longtime Sports Illustrated-writer-turned-retiree was making a writing comeback with The Athletic, a subscription-based sports website that’s brought in Reilly to generate some buzz.

If his presence at this week’s Players is any indication, Reilly’s return to covering (mostly) golf will, if nothing else, add zest to major-championship interview rooms. Away from covering the game for almost five years while enjoying the spoils of a lucrative and now-expired ESPN contract, Reilly’s been splitting time between Tuscany and southern California. Judging by how many changes in the game Reilly became aware of Players week – “Guys read the greens with their fingers and books of arrows?” – Tuscany doesn’t have much internet service. Or Golf Channel.

Asked what’s changed, Reilly reeled off a long list.

“People are wearing shirts with no collars, guys are wearing office shirts, I’ve seen a pair of high tops, and Golfweek is a monthly (in print),” he said.

What about inside the media center?

“Looks like a lot of guys got fired,” the 60-year-old said somberly. “A hell of a lot of really good magazines look like they went on an Atkins Diet. And Phil [Mickelson’s] a lot harder to get to than he used to be.”

The Forecaddie can report that the author of “Missing Links” and “Tiger, Meet My Sister” hasn’t lost his sense of humor. Or his sense of self.

Mostly though, The Forecaddie can’t help but love Reilly’s passion and his reasoning.

“One thing got me out of Italy,” Reilly said. “I love golf. I really missed being out here.” Gwk

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