Golf is a game of precision, focus, and repetition, but, at its core, it is a game of stories. From PGA pros to hopeless hackers, every golfer has an anecdote or moment that rises above the rest. Boston sports media personalities are no different.
Fox25 news anchor Mark Ockerbloom once played a classic golf ruse on his better half. He explains, “I took my wife (Marysia) out once and played the exploding ball trick on her. I got her all set up to tee off, and was videotaping it. When the ball exploded, she looked back at me with an icy stare!”
While Ockerbloom has never experienced the thrill of a hole-in-one, Comcast Sports’ Mike Giardi certainly has. “It was in August of 2005 on media day at TPC Boston. The 11th hole was a par three uphill. It was a very breezy day. I got to the tee and I was going to hit a seven iron.
“I could barely see the top of a flag, and I decided to switch to a six iron. I saw the ball bounce off the green, but that was it. As we drove up in the cart, a friend told me I got a hole-in-one. I thought he was crazy until he pick the ball out of the cup and showed it to me.”
Radio gabber Pete Sheppard’s top golf memory is cloaked in solitude and disbelief. Says Sheppard, “When I was 16 or 17 years old, I went out at 6:45 a.m. and was all alone on the course at Quidnessett. I shot a 78! There were no witnesses and I think my dad half believed me. The next day, on the same course, I shot a 115. Talk about humbling.”
7NBC’s Joe Amorosino conveys a neat anecdote involving two Boston sports legends.
“As a young reporter, I covered Bobby Orr’s charity tournament at The Ridge Club one year. I spent about three hours with Bobby that day, just the nicest guy ever.
“A couple of months later, I’m at a huge tournament at Willowbend in Falmouth. Roger Clemens was playing. I went up to him, and just as I was asking him for an interview, someone gave me a hard kick in the ass. It was Bobby Orr. Bobby told Clemens to give me whatever I needed, and we had a great interview.”
NHL Network and ex-NESN anchor Kathryn Tappen had a fine day with two other former Bruins’ defensemen. She relates, “At Ray Bourque’s tournament at the Golf Club of New England, they had a long drive competition. Bourque and Brian Leetch were there. I was so nervous when I stepped to the tee.
“I gripped the club so hard and was thinking to myself that I better not screw this up and look bad in front of all these guys. I drove it straight down the middle over 200 yards. That was one of my greatest golf moments.”
Frank Mallicoat, a popular New England news and sports reporter currently working in San Francisco, experienced similar nerves on the course.
“It was 1986 and I had been working at Channel 9 (Manchester, NH) for only two months. I was invited to play as a celebrity in the Bedford Rotary Tournament at Manchester Country Club. One of the other celebrities couldn’t make it so I played with his group.
“As it turns out, the celebrity I was replacing was Carl Yastrzemski. Stepping to the tee, I was so nervous, and Dana Quigley yells, ‘All right, Yaz. Let’s see what you got!’ I hit a perfect shot 270 yards right down Broadway. That was exciting.”
For legendary broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, the exploits of a fellow baseball golfer loom large.
“I swear Jim Rice could hit a golf ball 500 yards,” Harrelson relates. “I once bet Arnold Palmer $10,000 that Rice could hit it at least 100 yards further than I could. Shortly after that, Arnie was paired with Rice in a Pro-Am. He called me and said, ‘You know that bet we had about Rice, no friggin’ bet.’”
Former Comcast Sports hoops analyst Donny Marshall might just have the best golf story of them all.
He states, “I was playing in a pro-am at Mohegan Sun with a lot of celebrities including actor Bill Murray. Later on my mother came to me and said, ‘Who is William Murray? He gave me his number and told me I should give him a call if I ever want to get together.’
John Molori is the co-author of “The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball’s Prized Players.” Like him at facebook.com/johnmolori. Follow on Twitter @MoloriMedia. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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