Though it was never a goal in life, it has occurred to me that I've met six presidents of the United States. OK, I met four of them before they became president, including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, No. 43.
First, I thought Twitter was some kind of hybrid car being developed by Government Motors. Then I thought it was a new bite-size snack combining what's best of the Frito and the Cheeto. Then I found out it was me. On a laptop. At the U.S. Open. Having fun.
The greatly anticipated 2009 Masters was like going to a Broadway hit and finding out that the star, Sir Tiger Woods, was off that night, and his replacement was the cab driver who dropped you off at the theater.
I quickly discovered that trying to go play golf while living in Manhattan was about as easy as trying to grab a taxi while standing out in front of Saks Fifth Avenue in the freezing rain on the last shopping day before Christmas.
Something mystical happens to every writer who goes to the Masters for the first time, some sort of emotional experience that results in a search party having to be sent out to recover his typewriter from a clump of azaleas.
The U.S. won the majors 29-11 in the 1980s. That's when Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus were carrying the ball, and when Seve Ballesteros was becoming a Brit in the minds of English and Scottish journalists.
I can only tell you that eggs, country ham, biscuits, a pot of coffee, a morning paper, a table by the window overlooking the veranda and putting green, listening to the idle chitchat of competitors, authors, wits and philosophers, hasn't exactly been a torturous way to begin each day at the Masters all these years.
The key to any good sports story is identifying the defining moment. In football games or a boxing match, it's usually pretty obvious. But in golf, sometimes it happens on Thursday. Usually it's Sunday, but guys who don't know the game, they can miss it.
You can't have a U.S. Open anymore without an extra course to store all the hospitality tents. I used to be able to drive up to the clubhouse and park like the players. Now, there are seven corporate hospitality guys who have my spot, and I'm on a bus.
In a story, you have to have a theme and an angle, you have to have a beginning, middle and an end. You have to have a defining moment and kick it to death. You gotta be able to recognize that, by the way. It probably takes experience.
The reason I wrote about women's golf is because I've helped out some with the Kathy Whitworth Cup, a tournament they have in Fort Worth every year where they invite 60 of the best junior golfers in the country and even some foreign players.
When I was a lad in my 20s, as carefree and debonair as any other underpaid newspaperman, I happened to be a golfer who could flirt with par fairly often, and I was adventurous enough in those days to play any known or unknown thief who showed up at Goat Hills for whatever amount he fancied.