BABY TALK

March 03, 1997

Tom Weiskopf and I were talking about the differences on the
Tour since he first played, and aside from the money and the
railroad ties, the biggest change is how well the players are
treated. Tom told me that the players were polled in the
mid-'80s and the most important issue was day care, which is
standard on the Tour now, not better greens or bigger purses.
When the prize money increased, players could afford to travel
with their families. Now free minivans have replaced courtesy
cars, and a pro can change a poopy diaper just as easily as he
can get out of a pot bunker. All of this, of course, was foreign
to me until Jan. 7, when Brandel E. Chamblee Jr. was born.

Traveling the Tour with an infant is as scary as leading a
major, although I hadn't done either until my wife, Karen, and I
took little Brandel with us to the Buick Invitational in San
Diego. Now, as anyone who has traveled with a woman knows, the
amount of luggage you carry is like the Richter scale--it
increases exponentially. Add a child and you need a U-Haul to
get to the airport. We packed every gadget and outfit Brandel
will need for the next five years.

One change I noticed right away was the postround meal. Karen
and I used to dress for dinner. Now I go straight from the
course, wearing my visor and everything. In San Diego I learned
that golf clothes are great if you get peed on. Since polyester
is water-repellent, the stuff beads up. Our next week out, I
learned that Hawaii is not infant-friendly. For one thing,
waiting for an elevator and then slowly going up 29 floors when
the baby needs to eat or be changed seems longer than waiting
for Bernhard Langer to hit. Then on Thursday night I was out
doing some last-minute Valentine's Day shopping, and when I got
back, I found a note from Karen saying that she had taken the
baby to the hospital. My heart developed the yips, but it turned
out that Brandel only had a bad case of diaper rash and colic. I
was relieved by the diagnosis, but we didn't get to bed until 1
a.m., and I had a 7:10 tee time. After four hours of sleep, I
shot 67. Apparently, I've been sleeping way too much, a habit
little Brandel seems determined to break.

Being a parent changes your perspective on golf. I remember
racing past Tom Lehman and his family on a busy highway in 1990
as we were driving to a Hogan tour event. Tom gave me a hard
time about my speeding later, saying that I'd understand when I
had kids. It took seven years, but when I hold my little boy in
my hands and see him smile, I'm filled with awe and joy, and I
understand.

Brandel Chamblee's best finish as a dad is 22nd, in Phoenix.

COLOR PHOTO: KAREN CHAMBLEE Father and son are doing well on Tour.[Brandel Chamblee holding Brandel E. Chamblee Jr.]

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)