Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer breaks down how he caught the golf bug, how he stays motivated, and how Shinny brought him to his knees.
We’re at Shinnecock Hills, drinking Dark ’n’ Stormies, but yours is alcohol-free.
I’m still on the clock!
As a resident of nearby Sag Harbor, you’re very familiar with this place.
Shinnecock changed my life. I had an invitation to come out and play, and it so utterly humiliated me that I left here determined to figure out the proper golf swing. I’ve been chasing that swing for the past five-plus years, and I’m still on the journey.
Well, I got an invitation to come out on a Wednesday, and on the first tee I hit a stroke that seemed to pass through my body with its weightlessness. I was super nervous—it’s 7:30 in the morning, the clubhouse is behind you. And that ball set out on a path that the hand of Matisse could not have drawn any better.
And off we walk, the great grounds of Shinnecock. And for the next 17 holes, I could not have [played] worse. I’m standing over shots, I have no idea how to get from here to there. I left the place a broken man. My one buddy, who Googles when he talks, says, “How far are you from Crystal Springs? You’re 52 miles. The Ledbetter Academy just opened up a new training facility.” And I was there on Saturday. That day, I met [my instructor] Sean Hogan, and the journey began with vigor at that moment.
What’s your current handicap index?
I’m a 12.7. I’m a legitimate amateur.
I love that you include the decimal. That means you’re serious.
[Laughs] I am serious about trying to figure out how to get better.
You’re a co-anchor on America’s Newsroom on Fox News. Does the current political climate, where news seems to be breaking every second, make your job harder or easier?
Both. It makes it harder because you’re always staying up to date with the very last changes and every nuance of the story, be it here or overseas. It makes it easier in the sense that we have so much to talk about.
You’ve covered every major news story over the last several decades. Is there one that touched your life in a way you didn’t expect?
We may need a few more of these drinks. 9/11 is certainly top of mind for all of us. One story that really surprised me in the way I personally reacted was the earthquake in Haiti, because you’re flying into a country that had nothing to begin with, and then there’s destruction and humanity at a level that you’re not quite prepared for. And the Newtown shooting is certainly something I will never get out of my mind.
How do you stay motivated day in and day out?
Well, I wanted to find a job where I could learn something new every day, and I found it. And as long as the mind is still challenged, I’ll be interested enough to dive into the deep details of a story in order to relay that to an audience. And that hasn’t gotten tiring yet.