By Sam Weinman
Someone suggested to Jay Harris he might not be able to remain an amateur.
"I can't?" the ESPN SportsCenter anchor replied. "Aww man!"
For an 18 handicapper confined by Connecticut winters, this would go down as a good problem to have. Another one is this: After acing the 17th hole at basketball coach Mike Woodson's Charity Invitational at Southern Highlands Golf Club in Las Vegas, Harris hasn't decided whether he'll accept the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque SUV, or the cash equivalent -- roughly $42,000.
[#twitter: https://twitter.com/JayHarrisESPN/statuses/491966623452909568] All this the result of a 6-iron from 190 yards, Harris' first hole-in-one, which he says he saw coming. Sort of.
"Our group had been putting really well that day, to the point where we were rolling putts and walking off the green before they even went in," Harris, 49, said of the scramble event. "So when we drove up the hole with the car in it, we said, 'This would be the ultimate walk-off.' So we kind of called it."
Sure enough, Harris put a smooth swing on his tee shot, then watched his ball carom off a slope and roll toward the hole. His caddie was following the ball with his range finder, and then lost sight of it.
"He said, 'I don't see it. I think it's in the hole,'" Harris said.
Once the ace was confirmed, Harris was greeted with a standing ovation -- and a fake bar bill of $55,000 -- from the rest of the outing. As far as athletic accomplishments go, it may have been his finest hour. Either that or the time a young Michael Jordan dunked on him during a pick-up basketball game in Harris' native Chapel Hill, N.C.
Talking over the phone with his son in the car, Harris cracked, "My son wants to know if that counts as an athletic accomplishment."