After the tension of Augusta, I thought the WorldCom Classic at Harbour Town would be relaxing by comparison, but I had forgotten that I had to shoot 14 ten-second promos for the rest of our CBS golf shows, along with the regular cable and network schedules.
I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, the poor guy, a whole two minutes and 20 seconds of extra work, what a bummer.”
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. The promos, which will air in prime time over the next few months, were shot on film, an entirely different medium from video tape. For every different angle, the camera has to be rebuilt, and it doesn’t help if the talent is untalented. (That would be me.) With film, you don’t have a cameraman, you have a director of photography, and a focus puller, and in this case, about a 30-person crew, including make-up artists, sound technicians, props people, writers, creative directors, and a bunch of people who just seem to hang around, stealing my oxygen. It was pretty weird, especially when they kept measuring the distance from the lens to my nose with a tape measure. Apparently it was quite a trick to keep the tip of my nose and the rest of my face in focus at the same time. Something about, “Depth of field.” Oh yeah, very funny, these film makers.
And then there was the pollen. On Friday, we had a count of 3,500, which is by all accounts very high. I don’t know about that, but I will tell you this: snot at 160 miles per hour removes makeup from an announcer’s top lip in a hurry, and further complicates the kind of day I was having. When they brought out a pair of Jesper’s pants for me (pink, of course), I knew I was in trouble. Each spot took about an hour to film, and I was just on the verge of working out how to motivate myself as an actor, when I had to go back to being an announcer again. The quest for the Donald Trump of trophy jackets was on. Yes, it’s unattractive; yet, it’s strangely desirable.
It turned out to be a pretty weird weekend. Watching the leaders play, the crowd was wincing like they were at a fourth-grade band practice. Everyone with a chance to win was in the catch and release program, or the witness protection program, or something. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on, and then we had a rain delay, followed by the unmistakable, all-pervading stench of the worst nightmare for the announcer with a flight to catch — a playoff. I knew it. I was going to be stuck in the gnat habitat for another evening, even though earlier that day, I had told my 2 1/2-year-old daughter I was coming home to turn her pillow over to the cool side tonight. Now, daddy was a lying bunghole. (Her words, not mine, and no, I don’t know where she gets it from.)
Naturally, the following morning, Jose Coceres and Billy Mayfair (both of whom by this time I considered to be talentless idiots), throw the tournament back and forth at one another for an hour before one of them accidentally won the damn thing. I thought the weirdness was over, until I interviewed Coceres on the 18th green. I’ve known him for years, and I had been conversing in English with him all week, but when I asked him the first question, he replied in Spanish. It was like listening to Elian Gonzales’s father, thanking America for giving his boy back, or some kind of Irish Telemundo nightmare, I couldn’t tell which. Thank god nobody was watching. Or were they?