Seven years is a good run. Ask Arnie and Tom Watson and Bobby Jones, who each had a seven-year run as the best player in the world. Ask Jerry Seinfeld. I had that seven-year run five days a week on Sirius XM's PGA Tour Radio and the same on Golf Channel. Mine was the first live voice on both networks.
I did about 1,300 live shows on Golf Channel and 1,700 on Sirius XM. It took about 13 seconds to make friends with being on television and about 1,300 shows to figure out radio. Maybe that's why they canceled the radio show. (Wait, guys, I just figured it out!) Executives told me the show was over because they were going exclusively to call-ins rather than chats with the game's most knowledgeable observers.
Live TV is much easier than radio, because you can't read body language on radio. When the guest is far away on a cellphone, you have to decide if he's merely pausing or actually finished with a thought. Or surfing the net. You have to listen harder but still be spontaneous.
World Golf Hall of Famer and 1958 U.S. Open winner Tommy Bolt joined me on the first day of the radio show as the first guest on the first day of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2005. I asked him about Ben Hogan, because Hogan won his first individual tournament on No. 2 and because the two were great friends. So Tommy starts with, "That little sucker would whip his f------ hands through the ball so fast you couldn't f------ believe it." That was quite an introduction.
March 26, 2012
Last week Ben Crenshaw gave me a putting lesson on the air after I told him I had 10 three-putts in my previous round. I had six after the lesson. The next day Al Geiberger calls me as I'm hitting a seven-iron on the last hole over a deep ravine. He makes me drop the seven-iron and grab my putter. On the phone. With people waiting all around me. He ticks off about nine things to remember when putting and suggests staying on my left side with the seven-iron. So I hang up, execute a perfect reverse pivot, blow the seven-iron into the bottomless pit and finish with a three-putt 7. That was quite a conclusion.
What I'll miss most are the little things in between that made me smile, such as Bob Toski screaming out to his wife while we were on live: "I can't talk, honey, and I can't go. I'm doing radio with Peter. Don't forget the two-percent. You know I hate the other kind."
Keep up with Peter at peterkessler.com
SI GOLF RANKING
|RANK||PLAYER (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)||POINTS||LST. WK.|
|1.||Rory McIlroy (14)||149||1|
|2.||Luke Donald (1)||132||7|
For expanded rankings go to Golf.com/ranking
GOLF MAGAZINE TOP 100 TEACHERS POLL
Which is the best course on the Florida swing?
Bay Hill 44%
PGA National 23%