Ben Wright The politically incorrect TV announcer discusses his return to the booth and his sympathy for Hootie

December 16, 2002

SI: You got bounced by CBS in February 1996 for your intemperate
remarks about women golfers, but now you're returning to the
airwaves on Dec. 11 to work the inaugural World Club Championship
on the Golf Channel. What did you learn during your seven-year
exile?

BW: I don't know what I've learned. Quite frankly, when you're
scrambling to make ends meet and have the IRS at your doorstep,
it doesn't give you much time for idle thought.

SI: Do you fear you'll be remembered for the things you shouldn't
have said?

BW: Yes, I would hate to be known as that guy who talked about
lesbians and boobs.

SI: Did you get what you deserved?

BW: I obviously handled myself very poorly in the initial fracas.
There was too much subterfuge, and I should have come out and
said I was sorry. But I don't feel I've committed a crime, and my
punishment has been awfully severe compared to those who have
committed real misdemeanors (like Marv Albert) and have been
reinstated.

SI: Is there too much political correctness in sports?

BW: There's too much political correctness in life. I regard p.c.
as a form of dishonesty. People are not allowed to speak their
minds in this country.

SI: Hootie Johnson has been portrayed as being politically
incorrect, too. Can you sympathize with him?

BW: Definitely. It's terrifying what he's going through.
Unfortunately, he has to expect it. He's taken a stance, and he's
been brave enough to stand up for what he believes.

SI: Do women belong at Augusta National?

BW: It would be a wonderful thing if Hootie founded a Women's
Masters. I'd love to see how Annika and Se Ri cope with the
course.

SI: Would you want to serve in the TV booth?

BW: Absolutely. I'd volunteer, but I'm probably not the one who
should broach the idea at this stage of the conflict.

SI: Do you watch golf on TV?

BW: I watch all the time, but quite often with the sound muted.
In my arrogance I think I can do a better job than the
announcers.

COLOR PHOTO: GREG FOSTER

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)