By John Strege
The report from Sports Business Daily on Tuesday that Joe Buck would anchor Fox Sports' golf telecasts was not a surprise, given that he is the de facto voice of Fox Sports and an avid golfer.
He is a member of Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis and Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., and has a handicap index of 3.6. Old Warson hosted the Ryder Cup in 1971 and Boone Valley was named the best course in Missouri on Golf Digest's Best in State rankings.
Five years ago, at the American Century Championship, the annual Lake Tahoe celebrity tournament, I spent some time with him, talking about his passion for the game.
"When I was doing 162 Cardinals games a year, we'd be in San Francisco for three and play all day at the Olympic Club, or we'd go to Chicago and play Medinah," he said then. "Don't tell anybody, but a bag of autographed baseballs, especially when Mark McGwire is on the team, that will get you on a lot of great golf courses."
He also said then that he had a residence at the El Dorado Golf and Beach Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, "where I see Hank Haney a lot, where a lot of the PGA Tour players go to relax and play. I played with Freddie Couples this year a couple of times. Pat Perez is there all the time. It's a worthy golf course and probably the toughest, best greens I've ever played."
Buck, 44, said, "I put as much time into my golf game as just about anything in my life, and probably have since I turned 25 or 26." He said he would just as soon hit balls on the range as playing 18 holes, citing the solitude. "I like to be in my own corner of the range, not talking," he said. "I talk for a living. I get sick of hearing myself talk."
Last year, Fox Sports reached a 12-year agreement with the USGA to broadcast its events, beginning in 2015.