Darius Rucker on his new gig with the PGA Tour and the maddening state of his short game
Let’s be honest: Darius Rucker loves golf enough that he probably would have kept showing up at PGA Tour events even without being asked to do so on a formal basis.
But with that passion came an opportunity. The award-winning recording artist, first as the frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish and now as a solo country star, has been a mainstay at charity golf tournaments and tour events, including as a participant in this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And now comes the announcement Wednesday that Rucker will add the official title as the PGA Tour’s formal brand ambassador.
The new role means Rucker will make regular appearances as a commentator on PGA Tour Live, and in-person at tour events. It also means some co-branding with the tour during a Hootie & The Blowfish reunion this summer. Mostly, though, it means Rucker can continue to hang around golf, which he’s been doing for decades anyway.
As the 52-year-old Rucker described as a guest on this week’s Golf Digest Podcast, his relationship with the tour stems from a pro-am appearance with Payne Stewart in 1994, and it’s been non-stop ever since.
“When your first foray into golf like that is with Payne, everyone else’s got a lot to live up to because he’s such an awesome dude,” said Rucker, who also this week was honored by Golf Digest with an Arnie Award for his extensive charitable work in golf. “I just started becoming friends with the guys on tour and started playing with them and it just kept going. I really saw how much fun they had. It’s a cliche, but they’re just regular dudes. So we had fun and the relationship built from there.”
An additional selling point for Rucker was the opportunity to try his hand at commentating, which was actually what he studied as an undergraduate at the University of South Carolina before musical fame intervened.
“That’s something I’ve always wanted to dabble in and now I get the opportunity to do it,” Rucker said. “I’m just excited that I get to watch golf and be with these guys and talk about it.”
In addition to discussing his new job, Rucker talks to Alex Myers and myself about how he got started in the game, his faithful viewing of tour telecasts, and his pitiful short game. Also Keely Levins joins us to debate Rickie Fowler's ugly win, Sergio Garcia's Mideast meltdown, and Johnny Miller's tearful goodbye.