RUSH: Yesterday was the annual Ernie Els for Autism charity golf tournament, and it’s always held at Old Palm. Ernie puts this tournament on in conjunction with my old buddy Marvin Shanken of Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator magazines.
The beneficiary of this is an autism school and center that Ernie and his wife Liezl have started up, and it has gotten bigger than they ever dreamed it would be, as has this tournament. It attracts PGA Tour pros from all over the state of Florida, on a day off for them, and it attracts a lot of donors. And it’s just a fabulous, fun day. And yesterday we played in a fivesome.
We were not able to win this year. We were disqualified by Mr. Shanken himself from winning because we had won each of the latest two years, or two out of the last three, and Marvin thought it was only fair to the rest of the field to disqualify us. But we still played as though we were entered. We had a little fun, you know, drop a second ball if you mis-hit one. Didn’t happen much, but it was just a fun day.
Now, in our group was me and Marvin and Rudy Giuliani as always and the two newcomers this year were Bret Baier of Fox News and a great young professional who I hope does so well that everybody learns of him. He is from Minneapolis. He had to depart early for a family event in Minneapolis yesterday. His name is Cameron Tringale. And he’s just the kind of young kid that makes you have confidence in the future of the country. And it was just a wonderful afternoon.
Now, I didn’t play as well yesterday as I have been playing, but I had my moments. I had an eagle on the 17th. It’s a par 5, 520 yards. Second shot was 210, bammo, 10 feet from the pin, sunk the putt for an eagle net two. And that put us minus 14 for the tournament and put us in contention for winning, for which we had been disqualified by our leader, Marvin Shanken.
But even though we had been disqualified we continued to compete as though we were in it for the trophy. Marvin said if we did win was gonna have personal trophies made for us so that somebody else could win. It’s only fair that somebody else win, and we just have a knack of all coming together and hamming and egging it in this tournament, and ending up playing well.
But I have to tell you about Bret Baier. Now, I knew Bret Baier played well, and I knew that he’s a five or six handicap and I knew that he played in the AT&T Pro-Am which I have played in five or six times and I’d heard all the talk about Bret Baier being a good golfer, but, man, folks, you ought to see. Bret Baier could be on the tour. He’s a five or six handicap, but I’m telling you, he hits the ball right with these guys. Swing looks just like these guys, ball flight looks just like these guys, swing speed looks just like these guys. I mean, it was just fun to watch.
And the thing — it’s sobering. The last two times out I shot a 79, 78. And I’m playing with Bret Baier yesterday and Cameron Tringale, it slaps you upside the head just how not good you are compared to people — it’s two different games the way people who can really play it play it and the way amateurs hack it around. It’s all the product of how fast you can swing the club, that’s the difference.
And it’s like throwing a baseball. If you can throw it 95 to a hundred, you can. Nobody can teach you to do it. That’s something you’re born able to do. Same thing with swing speed with a golf club, and it’s just a marvel to watch. You know, it’s an avocational thing. It’s a hobby. I’m glad that I don’t make my living doing it because — (interruption) oh, no way! Could I play on one of the tours? No way.
That’s my whole point. When you play with people who make their living at it, it makes you realize the gap, the distance between them and you. Of course it’s the same thing as the gap between people like me who are highly trained broadcast specialists and people that don’t know what they’re doing. I mean, the gap is wide. It’s noticeable.
No, I don’t have the natural God-given talents to play golf at anywhere near a superior level. You know I could play with people my age or younger, with my handicap. My game is getting better, don’t misunderstand, but that’s a whole different level. I’m just telling you, Bret Baier is at that level. It is amazing.
He and Tringale are probably using the same clubs for the same distances, and they never miss a shot. They may miss a fairway wide by two or three yards, but they never chunk anything. They never mis-hit. And Bret Baier’s a fabulous guy. He’s exactly the kind of guy that you see on TV. He went out of his way to be cordial. There are a lot of fans that are attracted to the tournament and come out and watch, and it’s just a great, great time. It really is. I look forward to it each and every year. We had great weather yesterday, just a couple little intermittent rain showers, didn’t bother anything.
But I mainly wanted to give a shout-out to Ernie and his wife and Marvin for putting this thing together, and Cameron Tringale. Keep that name in mind as you watch the PGA Tour. And Rudy, he comes out. He hacks it around with Marvin. We just… Marvin’s nickname’s “The Shot Maker.” Just a great, great time. It’s one of the reasons I love golf. Nobody was thinking about anything else. Well, Baier and I did have some off-the-record conversations about things going on in Washington and in the news. But, I mean, most of it was about golf and related…
(interruption) I did. I used the new putter. I used the new… Well, it’s the same putter. It’s a TaylorMade Spider Putter. But I got a special… Get this. This is crazy. I got a special, custom-made shaft sent to me by Barney Adams. Tom Watson plays Adams clubs. He’s a semifan of the program. He won’t tell me why he’s not a full-fledged fan. He says “semifan.” He said, “It’s too long a story.” But he actually sent me a new putter, a total putter rather than just send me the shaft, and I said, “Come on. What is this? A putter shaft? How’s this gonna…?”
You will notice less vibration.” I said, “Barney, I’m… (laughing) Less vibration?” But that is what he said. Pros feel those kinds of things I suppose. I am putting better. You know why? Because the shaft is four-inches longer than the putter I have been using and I have better distance control. Thank you for indulging me in talking about this on such a heated news day. I love sharing the things that we enjoy here and the people that show up are just fabulous. Cigar makers are out there giving away their stuff. The vodka guys are out there giving away their stuff.
Every four or five holes you’ve got a grill set up where there’s sliders and ribs and chicken. I never eat playing. Why do you want to put a bowling ball in your gut while you’re playing golf? But for the people that can’t play that just show up to do it, it doesn’t matter, and it’s all part of a fun day. Old Palm is where we do this, and it’s a great residential golf community where many PGA Pros now live. I saw a bunch of them yesterday that I’ve met in the tournament.