I’ve often read about the idea of if you could have dinner with four individuals in history, who would they be?
Well, here is my list.
My first choice is Lee Trevino, the Merry Mix, who was a prominent player when I was growing up in the ‘70s and regularly watched golf on TV when it was broadcast without as much frequency as today. He played in the heydays of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, but was far more of a character than the others. He brought spirit and joie de vivre to the game, particularly the way he approached his tee shots. He took little time, not unlike Palmer, but it worked for both of them.
I took a look back on his career, in particular his first PGA Tour win in 1968, winning the U.S. Open at five-under par, four ahead of runnerup Nicklaus. Trevino became the first player in U.S. Open tournament history to record all four rounds under 70 and tied Nicklaus’ tournament record of five-under 275.
Looking back on the video, Trevino is wearing red and black in the final round – something that would become the traditional colors of Tiger Woods (Bridgestone Tour B XS). He was also wearing a golf cap, which was not the norm then.
The story of Trevino being struck by lightning in 1975 and suffering a back injury that would affect him forevermore is but one interesting tidbit of his life and career. Another is that he was raised by his mother and grandfather, a gravedigger.
He was described as a “man of the people” in one tournament.
For all these reasons, Trevino is on my list.
My second choice is David Feherty. If you ask me about his pro career, I couldn’t tell you anything that stands out. It’s more about his broadcasting career, which he began in 1996. He brings such an entertaining voice to tournaments. His show, Feherty, which was not renewed by the Golf Channel this past January after a 10-year run, was must-see TV. He put his guests at ease by asking interesting questions. He also dressed in sartorial splendor with his three-piece suits.
I hope his show is renewed at some point. Then again, if it’s not he left behind quite a catalogue of content.
My third choice is Phil Mickelson (Callaway Chrome Soft X). I’ve stated before that I am a member of a Phil Mickelson Facebook Fan Club, and it’s for many reasons. His body of work alone is compelling both for the way he played in the beginning with anything but a conservative approach and how he transformed his game playing far more in control.
He just happens to have competed in an era that included a generational player in Woods. Mickelson made history earlier this year by becoming the eldest player to win a Major.
Of significance is what he has done to bring the game to a new audience with his matches for charity, beginning with the first one he did with Woods, who was a bitter rival of his time but found a way for the two to smooth things out. The match ended up becoming a 22-hole event played in the dark and brought a gambling element to it. In many ways, it was way ahead of the curve now with sports wagering that includes a lot of interest in the PGA Tour.
I think he understands there’s a way to create interest outside of the weekly tournaments. He’s also someone who has shown he’s comfortable as a broadcaster.
I once heard a broadcaster say a book about Mickelson would not be that exciting – certainly in comparison to Woods. I beg to differ. He has gone through a lot of drama in his life and career, and by winning a Major at the age of 50 he proved he still has game.
My fourth choice is Mike (Fluff) Cowan, who has caddied for some of the top players in the game, including Woods early in his career.
Cowan has one of the greatest moustaches in all of sports. He even looks a little like National Football League coaches Andy Reid and Bruce Arians.
But the biggest reason I’d like to have dinner with him is because I approached him a few years ago at the Canadian Open where he was caddying for Jim Furyk (Callaway HBT Dot) to ask if I could interview him.
“No,” he said.
“You mean you don’t want to do an interview?” I asked
“No,” he repeated.
I walked away feeling like I’d missed out on a chance to talk to someone whose had an interesting life and career. Then again, he reportedly was fired by Woods for revealing in an interview what he was being paid.
Maybe I’ll ask him once more to do an interview and tell him I’d like it to be part a dinner with Trevino, Feherty and Mickelson – if I could ever arrange it, which is likely slim and, more likely, none.