Tenuous Golf ConnectionsJune 23, 2016

It gets worse: O.J. Simpson's golf buddies hired a caddie to keep him from cheating

Golf: O.J. Simpson on course while playing at Rancho Park GC.Los Angeles, CA 3/20/1997CREDIT: Peter Read Miller (Photo by Peter Read Miller /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)(Set Number: X52512 )
Sports Illustrated/Getty ImagesGolf: O.J. Simpson on course while playing at Rancho Park GC.Los Angeles, CA 3/20/1997CREDIT: Peter Read Miller (Photo by Peter Read Miller /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)(Set Number: X52512 )

ESPN Films' new O.J.: Made in America, has been lauded as one of the network's best documentary efforts. And rightly so. The five-part series examinies O.J. Simpson's rise and fall, America's criminal justice system, not to mention its views on race and celebrities. The whole thing is comprehensive and utterly fascinating.

Of course, working at Golf Digest, my ears perked up every time golf was referenced. And it happened a lot due to The Juice's love of the game (Although the couple swings he showed indicated that despite all his time on the course, he wasn't very good). In no particular order, here were six of those golf connections in the film.

1. O.J.'s golf buds hired a caddie to keep him from cheating
Apparently, O.J. had a bit of a reputation when it came to bending the rules on the course. It got so bad that some of his regular playing partners started hiring a caddie to keep an eye on Simpson. They even had a name for it: "Juice Patrol."

Despite O.J.'s rep, though, his friends tolerated it, in large part due to Simpson's charm -- something that came up a lot during the documentary. "It was funny," friend Fred Levinson said. "It was very hard to get mad at him."

Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

2. O.J. broke the color barrier at country clubs
"For us, O.J. was colorless," says former Hertz CEO and Simpson friend, Frank Olson. Olson says he took Simpson to a lot of exclusive golf clubs and that the football star became the first black member at Arcola Country Club in Paramus, N.J.

3. O.J. was allowed to use golf as part of his community service sentence
Stemming from a domestic abuse charge against wife Nicole Brown Simpson on Jan. 1, 1989, Simpson was sentenced to two years probation and 120 hours of community service. According to the documentary, Simpson met his community service requirement by organizing and hosting a charity golf tournament at Pebble Beach.

4. O.J. liked to draw golf courses
Perhaps, more accurately, he liked to doodle them. One such occurrence of this came during his deposition for the civil case brought against him after he was found not guilty in the criminal case. People in the documentary, including Fred Goldman, the father of murder victim Ron Goldman, thought Simpson wasn't taking his testimony seriously. The scribbling of golf courses while on the stand seemed to back this up.

5. O.J. played golf the day assets from his house were seized
After losing a $33.5 million decision in the civil case, authorities eventually sent people to collect possessions from Simpson's home since he didn't have the money to pay off the debt. Some of O.J.'s friends were tipped off and they hid stuff in various storage units. Simpson was on the course when people arrived at his house so he could have plausible deniability.

6. O.J. gets burned for golf twice on David Letterman "Top Ten" list
After being acquitted for the double murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, Simpson vowed to search for the real killer or killers. Simpson was soon seen playing a lot of golf again, which prompted David Letterman to make two golf jokes on a Top Ten list titled, "Top Ten Ways O.J. Is Searching For The Real Killers."

No. 9 was, "Elaborate ongoing "Sting" operation at Pebble Beach."

No. 2 was, "Before sinking putt, takes a good look in the cup to make sure they ain't hiding there."

Simpson, of course, isn't playing golf or doing much of anything these days. He's currently serving a possible 33-year sentence for armed robbery.


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