We’re drinking Brunello. How did you acquire your wine savvy?
My wife and I had our honeymoon in Italy, and we’ve spent some time in Tuscany and love it. Italian wines are my favorites. I like a big, booming red wine that blows your taste buds away.
The Rich Eisen Show was nominated for an Emmy this year. How do you prepare for your in-studio guests?
I don’t know—it’s not much preparation. I try to ask the questions I think fans want to hear, and just have a good, relaxed conversation. In our day and age, a lot of shows are just argument-driven—there’s no gray area, no nuance, no discussion. I wanted my show to be the opposite.
You’re an avid golfer. Do you take the game really seriously?
I love it, I truly do. But I’m not one of those folks who goes through a preshot routine or is constantly thinking about what I need to do with my turn.
So you’re not obsessed with your swing?
I don’t know if I have that discipline. I just love hanging out with good company on a great, fun golf course. And I’ve been fortunate to have been with some fun people in some fun places.
Any good stories you can share?
One time I was at Sherwood Country Club with my brother, and Wayne Gretzky and his wife stroll up on the range. We chatted, and they couldn’t have been nicer. Then they go out and play their round, and we tee off 15 minutes later. I didn’t play very well at all. And on the back nine, I had a 270-yard shot into the green and I skulled a 3-wood right into a pack of coots [a small water bird]that were walking across the fairway. And one of the coots goes down.
It was awful, it was terrible. And long story short, three weeks later, I’m at the NHL All-Star Game in Denver, and I look up, and who’s sitting center ice, about 20 rows back, but Wayne Gretzky. I catch his eye, he waves, “Hey Rich, how did everything go at Sherwood?” Now, I could have cleaned that story up. But I just turned to him and said, “I shot a 120 and killed a duck on 15.” And I could see him mouthing the words, “He killed a duck.” I thought to myself, “Oh God, the greatest hockey player in the history of hockey is now wondering what’s the matter with me.”
I commend your honesty!
I’m honest. Someone who’s honest about their golf game, I think, is a person who’s right in the world.
Do you have a golf bucket-list item? One thing that you just have to find the time to do?
I’d love to play the Road Hole at St. Andrews. And maybe take a trip to Ireland one time—I’ve heard nothing but great things about all of that.
You can’t go wrong there.
Maybe one day, when I’m an empty-nester and this show has won its tenth Emmy award in a row, that’ll be the time to do it.