In a new CSI episode to air on Thursday, you play yourself as the CSI crew investigates the murder of golf pro during a tournament. Rocco Mediate, David Feherty, Duffy Waldorf and Natalie Gulbis also make appearances. What can you tell us about it?
The shoot took place at the TPC at Valencia in the Santa Clarita Valley. I had gotten to know the producers and the actors William Petersen and George Eads when they filmed the show at a studio near Valencia Country Club during the AT&T Pebble Beach. I had always wanted to play a dead guy on CSI, but it takes four days to be a dead guy on the show and I never had that much time.
For the shoot I had to sit in a trailer with Feherty for two days. So I’m emotionally scarred from that. I had about two graphs that I had to learn and read through. I had a wager with Rocco and Feherty that I would get my lines perfect the first time. I ended up doing two takes. But I had a lot of fun.
When is Tiger coming back?
I have had my tongue surgically removed from any questions about Tiger. So I can’t answer that.
How will the 2010 golf season unfold?
I see the same thing happening where all the talent pool is concentrated in a couple of guys. I hope that after this thing is done with Tiger that some young players have established themselves so that we aren’t all focused on one player who doesn’t play that much to begin with. In any strong business you have to be diversified, and we’re not real diversified on the Tour. We need some new stories.
Rules changes made grooves softer on wedges and irons in 2010. How will this impact play on the Tour?
This whole groove thing is a bunch of nothing. The Tour players have already worked around the rule by using new spinning balls or some other groove configuration from their equipment manufacturers. A 20 percent reduction in spin rate around the greens from the old groove to the new ones is not going to hurt these guys. They will just hit it higher and softer.
You’ve had some success on the Champions Tour with two wins, but by your own account you had an abysmal PGA Tour career: no wins, 24 Top 10s and 242 cuts in 378 events in 20-plus years. What was the key to your failure as a Tour player?
I made too many bogeys. I based my career on Bob Uecker’s. I told Uecker the other day he had a .200 career batting average but only played six years in the big leagues, while I had long and embarrassing sequence of failure for over 20 years — in front of a lot of people.
You play out of Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, which 40 PGA Tour players call home. Does this make your job as an analyst tougher when you have to see these guys in the grillroom?
I have never been that critical because, again, I took my career like Uecker and always said how bad my career was, taking a self-deprecating approach. But I do have a tendency to be harder on my friends that I play with at home.
Do the players trust you?
No. Even my best friends don’t trust me because they know I have a big mouth. If they want to tell me something they will say, “This is off the record.”
Aren’t you responsible for the Top 125 all-exempt PGA Tour?
Yes. In 1982, when I came up with the idea, two-thirds of the players were Monday qualifiers. We were like a Bedouin society going around from palm tree to palm tree with no money. The Top 125 changed the whole administration of pro golf from a player’s standpoint, giving security to more than just a handful of stars. I probably should have gotten a patent for it because every Tour in the world plays by it now. I’m an idiot for not doing that.
Feherty joined the CBS golf team in 1997, and since then you guys have become one of the funniest tandems in sports broadcasting. What should people know about him?
Feherty is the fattest cyclist that I have ever witnessed. He gets up every morning at about 3 a.m. and gets on that bike and rides 50 to 60 miles before 7:30. So he’s out riding in the bowels of the night in a town he doesn’t know with a little bitty light and he wonders why he gets hit so much. But when we go out for dinner after the telecast ends, he eats between a pint and 10 gallons of ice cream. So he rides and gets all of this exercise and he just gets fatter.
What was the last book you read?
Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.
How do you groom your handlebar mustache?
It depends on the weather. Rollie Fingers taught me everything I know. If it’s going to be a windy day, I apply excessive amounts of Clubman Pinaud, the wax of choice for all guys with handlebars. If it’s going to be nice and sedate out, I’ll apply the Clubman and wait for one hour and brush it out, which makes it really bushy and up in the air. If I go out there with my mustache brushed out and it’s really nice in the morning and a storm comes through, I could end up in Kansas looking for Toto.