In his article about Tiger Woods's thrilling victory at the AT&T
Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (SI, Feb. 14), Alan Shipnuck
described me as "unlikeable," "irritating," "stultifying,"
"soul-sucking" and "not funny." None of that bothered me. In
fact, my wife, Anna, read the article and said, "He left out
Mr. Shipnuck also attributed Tiger's difficulty in the early
rounds to my "glacial pace" of play in front of him. On that
score I would like to set the record straight for Alan. In the
AT&T Pro-Am, I'm the am. I'm the 22 handicapper. But don't let
that confuse you. I love and respect the game of golf too much
to ever disregard its rules and etiquette.
This was my first trip to the Pro-Am, although I've been playing
off and on for 20 years. To get ready for the tournament I spent
six months drilling with a pro. Believe it or not, that swing
you saw was an improvement.
The night before the first round I saw the pairings and freaked
out. I was ahead of Tiger and behind David Duval. What are they
doing to me? I promised myself that whenever I got in trouble,
I'd pick up my ball, put it in my pocket and move on. I did. In
the first round, at Poppy Hills, I picked up on the first four
holes. I told the scorer in our group, "In case you're
interested, I'm going for the record: 72 straight pick-ups." The
only time I didn't pick up was on Pebble's 10th hole in the
third round when my tee shot landed on the beach.
I wanted to go right into my pocket again, but my pro partner,
Eric Booker, told me to keep hitting. I did, battling kelp, a
pack of dogs and high tide to get my ball on the green. Later
people told me, "That was great TV." I'm pretty sure that's the
same thing they said to the "Agony of Defeat" guy.
Remarkably, the 10th hole took no longer to play than any other.
Truth be told, during the third round our foursome had to wait
on every tee box for the group in front of us, and that group
was waiting for the one ahead of it. This was the case that day
at Poppy Hills and at Spyglass as well. I know I'm no pro, but
I'm not bad enough to cause 6 1/2-hour rounds on three courses
As a matter of fact, two days after Pebble, Tiger and I joked
about the situation when we played 18 holes together in a pro-am
at Torrey Pines. Just so you know, one of us shot 68.
Ray Romano is the star of the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves