Once, before the
advent of Golf Channel and golfblogger.com and the PGA Tour Network's Satellite
Radio XM 146--are you dizzy yet?--there were men, and a few women, who walked
the course, talked to the players and wrote up what they heard, smelled, felt
and saw. You'd read about a golfer with grass stains on his trousers while you
got ink stains on your fingers. The reports, the good ones, left a golf deposit
in you. All over the country, there were folks typing golf (among many other
things): Art Spander in San Francisco, Furman Bisher in Atlanta, Dave Anderson
in New�York, for the Times.
It's hard to
imagine a more unassuming Timesman. The new golf year will begin without him.
He has no rite-of-spring Masters trip planned, for now. After more than a half
century as a newspaperman, Anderson, 78, has "retired," although his
retirement will include 18 columns a year. He really should get a new
Arnold Palmer were both members of the birthclass of '29, both solid to their
core, and both with a knack for saying something memorable by saying something
true. At Augusta National, and nowhere else, there are no inside-the-ropes
armbands for reporters. Some years ago, when an old Augusta National member
asked Anderson what he thought of the new, gleaming press building, Anderson
said, "I'd trade the whole thing for an armband."
At the '93 U.S.
Open at Baltusrol, Tom Watson got himself in contention on Saturday. A bunch of
writers waited for Watson off the 18th green, Marriott pens in hand, on
deadline. Steve Melnyk, working for ABC, cordoned off Watson. He was waiting
for his earpiece to tell him what to do. A couple of scribes called for
"Do you mind,
guys?" Melnyk said. "I'm live."
Anderson said, "we're live, too."
everything and everybody. The best interview of them all? "Nicklaus, oh,
yeah," Anderson said recently. "Jack answers in paragraphs, and he
doesn't care if you're from The New York Times or SI or Dubuque." Not long
ago Anderson asked Nicklaus about changes to Augusta National. Nicklaus started
going through the card, hole by hole. When he got to the 7th, Anderson made a
reference to the 10th. Nicklaus said, "Hold it--I haven't finished
In '76, on the
Monday after the first playing of the Memorial, Anderson played Muirfield
Village on a press day. He hit his Sunday best off the 1st, 225 and straight.
Nicklaus happened to be watching.
"He not only
can write," Nicklaus said, "he can play."
telling that story the other night. He was at home in New Jersey, his wife of
54 years, Maureen, waiting on him for a date. They have four children. Steve is
an executive at ESPN; Mark is a high school teacher and an artist; Jo is an
actress; Jean Marie is a producer for Golf Channel. Dave Anderson is a
third-generation newspaperman, but the streak is over. Still, between the
columns and the kids, a nice legacy.