Fox Sports' Charles Davis on helping Tiger Woods at Stanford, working with Gus Johnson, and casting his Heisman vote
Long before millions of Americans heard Fox Sports' Charles Davis break down NFL games on a weekly basis during the fall, he learned to analyze what was happening on turf in a much different way. As an assistant athletic director at Stanford overseeing the school's golf facilities, Davis quickly became an expert in ... grass?
"I knew nothing about golf-course operations when I took that job, but one of the things I do is, I get fully immersed in whatever job I have," Davis said. "So by the time we were done, I learned there were 36 varieties of grass in the fairways at Stanford and we were adding all the greens with Bermuda Tifway 419, and this is why we were doing it. You learn."
And such began a strong tie to golf that would have a huge impact on Davis' early career. While working at Stanford, he also served as the liaison between the school and the parents of prized golf recruit Tiger Woods. That included the sobering task of making sure Woods, who was receiving death threats at the time, had proper security during tournaments. Shortly after, Davis became tournament director of the PGA Tour's Disney Golf Classic from 1998-2000, where, coincidentally, Woods won in 1999. And Davis honed his TV chops in part as a contributor on Golf Channel's "Grey Goose 19th Hole."
But the former University of Tennessee cornerback, who was recently inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, wound up sticking in his first sport. He started on Fox's college football coverage in 2006 before moving to the network's NFL coverage full-time in 2015.
Amid his busy fall schedule, Davis joined the Golf Digest Podcast to discuss dealing with a young Tiger (and Earl Woods), and the creative way the Disney Classic used to lure PGA Tour pros. He also talked about his most memorable games in the booth, working with Gus Johnson, and the factors that go into casting his Heisman Trophy vote every year. Plus, Sam Weinman and Daniel Rapaport join me to talk about Rory McIlroy's (on-course) response to Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson's remarkable world ranking streak coming to an end, the latest LPGA rules controversy, and our favorite PGA Tour pro Halloween costumes. Please have a listen: