“What do you do when you are not rating courses?” asks a reader from balmy Tucson, Ariz.
Short answer: I’m always rating courses. Behind the wheel with cell phones pressed to both ears, I’m rating. Standing in line for Taylor Swift tickets, I’m rating. Even when I appear to be asleep at my desk, I’m rating. (I dreamt that Tom Doak’s Streamsong Blue would debut at No. 48 — and it did!)
But if the reader wants to know what I do in my spare time, I don’t know where to begin. I spend hours poring over old scorecards and manuscripts for my Golf Ghost stories. I play cocktail piano for tips at hotels and country clubs. I bait traps for the rodents I hear running behind the walls at Catch Basin, my Kansas City manse.
Currently, I seem to spend the better part of my week in black tie. One night I’m at the Grammys, the next I’m at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Can they hold a Ryder Cup Gala without me? Yes, but only if my SI colleague Alan Shipnuck agrees to fill in.
But rest assured, when I’m schmoozing with Brad “‘Til Death” Garrett at a Las Vegas benefit, my brain is thirty miles up the road at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. Or across town at Steve Wynn’s 51st-ranked Shadow Creek. Or combing the Strip for archeological evidence of a mythological Desert Inn Golf Club.
My paid subscribers deserve my best, and I’m determined to give it to them.
Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but my profile of top-ranked celebrity interviewer David Feherty has jumped from the pages of GOLF Magazine to the pixels of Golf.com. Here’s some bonus Feherty that didn’t make it into my piece:
On improving at golf: “I have no idea how I got to be any good, because I never really worked that hard. But I worked very hard in my MIND. I practiced by thinking. And imagining. I think that’s a very underrated form of practice. I tell people all the time, don’t work so hard. Make swings in your mind, imagine what it feels like when it’s comfortable. Take comfortable swings and see where the ball goes. And then learn how to aim it. It’s really not that complicated.”
On the trajectory of his playing career: “I always felt I was on the edge of disaster. There would be high points, and then I’d get shit-faced for a month. Then I’d have to go back to work again.”
On religion: “The history of organized religion is nothing but torture, bloodshed, misery and ignorance. Yet people still cling to it; it’s precious to them. The present is precious to me because I know it’s the only thing I’ll ever have.”
On injuries curtailing his golf: “I don’t want to play socially, and I used to make excuses — ‘Oh, my back is killing me’ — but now my left arm is semi-paralyzed. But I’ve got my Troops First Foundation, where I’ve got men with no arms or legs playing golf, and those are the days I play. I say, ‘Oh, my shoulder’s badly separated,’ and some kid will hand me his leg and say, ‘That’s separated.’”