Look, Im no different than you. Ive got my issues with certain things in this game. And Ive got my feelings about a certain few players whove treated fans and media members like a miniscule speed bump in an empty parking lot ' with regularity!
But Im taking the high road on this one. Not gonna do it. In fact, given what Ive seen and heard over the last 10 days, Im gonna flat out praise some people!
Im starting with Mike Weir. No, Im not trying to butter him up like I would a dry pancake. And no, my column last week involved no motive to create or enhance a professional relationship the next time we take our show on the road. But guess what happened? Weir called me personally at work the other day. Not knowing I wasnt working, he left me a message to thank me for the article I wrote and the comments I made regarding him as a player and as a class person. Maybe we can do something later on down the road, he said. Just let me know.
Class? Hes the one with the class. That call from a Masters champion is something Ill not soon forget. In fact, I havent yet deleted it because Im still soaking it all in.
Last week, we took the Sprint Pre and Post Game Shows on the road to Doral for the Ford Championship. Speaking of class heres a sampling of what it was like to recruit guests. And maybe this will give you a sense of what goes on with the show (for more, archive a recent column I wrote The Sprint Days are a Marathon).
We arrived on Tuesday, walked into our compound, looked outside the window at the practice putting and chipping green only to see Harrison Frazar doing his office work for the day. I opened the window, and said something like Hey, Superman! Want to join us on the show this week? His answer? Sure, what night do you want me? The conversation continued and I proceeded out to talk to him some more. We settled on Thursday after his round and heres the catchregardless of what he shoots that day!
Wednesday, as you probably know if you watch the show, is our big preview night. Given that there are always issues about events, rulings and controversy our producers, Brian Hewitt and I pow-wowed about guests. How about David Toms whos just back from injury and Scott McCarron? was the quip that got the most attention. Both are player representatives on the tour policy board.
Word got to them about our interest and their availability. Both asked Where and what time? They also agreed to stay on the show for more than the normal one segment. They were terrific. The next day I see Toms and say thank you. He responds, I enjoyed it. Anytime I can help ' you know that. I never saw McCarron, but hes also never turned us down.
I caught Bernhard Langer on the patio one night just before show time and asked about his availability for the week. You know, Ryder Cup captain and all ' we work around him. I said, You tell me ' Im figuring youll be around for the weekend. His reply? I would hope so. Im commuting home at night, so how about Friday? Ill just stay that night. That would be fun.
I caught Craig Perks on the practice putting green on Saturday afternoon after his round. He was in the hunt and hes always been a good get given his quick rise at the Players Championship. We would prefer you join us live, but well tape it if need be, I said. Ill do it live, Perks fired back. Ill just shower, relax in my room and come back. What time?
Joe Durant is another of the tours best men. I called his hotel room at Doral. He never wavered a bit. Id love to, Durant said. He joined us on Friday.
Jesper Parnevik? Similar story. We reeled him in after his round. Like Langer, he, too, is a bit of a local. Plenty of friends and family around. He held us off for a minute while he checked with his wife and we set a tape time for one hour later. He was there early!
I could go on and on. And yes, there are times when players say no. But you know what? Those who say no seemingly always follow up with, Sorry, it just doesnt work today, can we do it later in the week?
I need you to know that these guests are not paid. They give of their time and sure, they get some exposure and the like. But this is a business filled with plenty of class. And while a small few dont make The Golf Channel a priority ' the great majority do and that is a major reason why were alive and well, growing by leaps and bounds and setting our sights for even greater days ahead.
By the way, Jeff Sluman, a Rochester, N.Y., native who has laid down big roots in suburban Chicago, seems really excited about joining me and Hewitt (two other native Chi-towners) for a night on the town during Western Open week. Just call me, Sluman said.
Is this a great job or what? Now you know where the thanks goes.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann