Q&A with Mike Greenberg

Continued (page 2 of 5)

When the weather gets good in the Northeast, your wife has to drive her car to dinner functions because you'll be coming straight from the golf course. Is that accurate?
That is correct. It's one of my favorite things about her. I don't play weekend mornings because that's my time with my kids. I've been working every morning since before my kids were born. I like to have breakfast with my kids on weekends. I love playing late in the afternoon on Saturday. There's no better time to play golf. I love being the last one out there. I'll get there about 5; I'll walk nine holes by myself. I usually do it in an hour-and-a-half. Finish at 6:30, just as it's starting to get dark, jump in the shower and meet my wife at a restaurant at 7. It's perfect.

Finish this sentence: Golf with Golic is like ...
... eating a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich with a $1,000 bottle of wine. Golf is meant to be sipped, and Golic is a gulper. I've seen Mike Golic hit a tee shot 350 yards and wind up 700 yards away from the green. That's what you need to know. Golic plays golf with a driver, a 7-iron and a putter. Anywhere besides the tee he's hitting a 7-iron. I once gave him a sand wedge in the fairway and told him to hit it, and he actually hit the ball backward. It went up in the air, and it landed behind him. I've never seen anything like it. He's great to have in a scramble because he can hit it a long way off the tee and he's a lot of fun to play with. He doesn't appreciate the game on the level that I do.

If Golf Digest asked you to write about anything golf-related, what would you write about?
The thing that I find fascinating about golf is the honor. I would write a story about the history of players who have lost events, missed out on getting their tour card, missed out on making a cut, and a variety of other things because they've called penalties on themselves and no one noticed. We saw two examples at the Masters this year. In a time when the sports that I spend most of my time talking about on the air-pro football, major league baseball--which are embroiled in one cheating scandal on top of another on some level, the honor of these golfers who recognize that the game is bigger and more important than they are, that it's more important to play the game right than it is to win, that it's more honorable to lose the right way than to win the wrong way--that is my absolute favorite thing about golf. As I'm getting older, and my kids are learning more about sports, I'm growing to appreciate the honor of golf more, and so if I were to write a story about anything I'd write a story about that. I would send copies of that story to Roger Clemens and to Bill Belichick and ask what they thought about it.

Flipping through the channels, are you more inclined to stop on the LPGA or the Champions tour?
I'm more likely to watch the LPGA, but if golf is on, I'm watching. It doesn't really matter to me who is playing--I enjoy it.

Is Tiger versus Phil a rivalry?
No. Not unless you consider a hammer and a nail a rivalry. There's no legitimate comparison to be made between the two of them, and that's no disrespect to Phil. Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan was not a rivalry, and Clyde Drexler was a hall-of-fame player. Phil Mickelson is an all-time great who has the misfortune of having the prime of his career coincide with the prime of Tiger Woods' career. I would say no. I love watching Phil Mickelson play, and I admire him greatly and admire all of the stuff he does for charity. The few times I've dealt with him he's been nothing but a gentleman. I don't have any first-hand knowledge of it all, but my sense is, he's not very well liked on the Tour, but I like Phil Mickelson, and I root for him. I don't think it's appropriate to call that a rivalry any more than it would be appropriate to say Andy Roddick and Roger Federer have a rivalry. It would be unfair to Federer, and I think it would be unfair to Tiger. There is no one on the planet right now of whom you could legitimately say they have a rivalry with Tiger. It's not right.

You have a three-foot putt for your life and Tiger is not picking up the phone. Who do you call next?
Right now or ever?

Right now.
It's tough to say. There's a difference between guys who are great putters and guys who I think might make the putt with MY life on the line. Let me think for a minute. [Long pause.] I'm going to say Jack Nicklaus. I'll say why. He still tries as hard on every three-footer as he did before--and he'll be the least nervous.

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