PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

The Loop

An Insider's Guide To Getting Autographs

April 24, 2012

Kids seek autographs like old men look for golf balls. A signature from Phil or Rickie is the equivalent of finding a barely-used Pro V1, but at the end of the day both men and boys tend to regard quantity over quality. This is why you see kids at PGA Tour events walking around in Sharpie-covered hats like some mad Cy Twombly painting, and also why you've seen your uncle emerge from a lateral hazard limping from the weight of muddy balls shoved in the pockets of his new shorts.

As we saw at the 2011 Reno-Tahoe Open, some kids will cry even if Pat Perez snubs their autograph request. Perez made it right later, and to his defense, he'd just missed three shorties in a row to hand the tournament to Scott Piercy. Just as certain ponds are honey-holes for golf balls, there's a method to getting autographs.


And who better to coach the world in this method than a kid?  The following is an account we received from Kyle Russo, age 13, of Ringoes, New Jersey. Kyle had spent the day with his grandfather at the 2010 Barclays.

*I saw Anthony Kim walking towards the practice area. I behaved as if I was a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

I found a spot by the ropes, then watched him hit 60-yard pitches for 20 minutes. As Anthony brought the club up to check if he was in the right position, he saw me.

"Hey kid, come here."

I stood there, looking to my left and right to see if he was pointing to me.

"Yes, you. Come over here," he said loudly. I couldn't tell if he was angry or just talked like that. I climbed over the ropes, and hustled over to him.  "Hey, I'm Anthony Kim. Here is my coach, caddie, and my girlfriend. What's your name kid?"

As I said my name I put my hand out to shake. I placed my baby-like fingers into his colossal hand. For a man of 5'10" he had the biggest hands I have ever seen. They almost scared me.

Because of our interaction I drew attention to Anthony, and a crowd quickly gathered for to him to sign many different items, which he did.

I stayed watching him practice for another two hours. He had missed the cut and was trying different putters.

The kid to the right of me kept screaming, "Anthony, can I have your ball! Anthony, can I have your belt!"

I thought this was a little disturbing.

Anthony moved to the far end of the green, probably to escape the noise. I continued to watch him putt, thinking the whole time about how I needed to make my own stroke that smooth.

After a half hour he started walking to the gate. As he walked he took off his hat and signed it. Then he started walking toward me.

Anthony reached over the rope to hand me the hat. As this was happening, the kid to the right of me, the screamer, ripped the hat right out of Anthony's hands and was ready to run. But before he could do that, Anthony grabbed the hat back with his big hands and firmly put the hat in mine.

"Thank you for being a true fan, and watching me for the whole time I practiced." Anthony said*.

-- Max Adler