Anderson, 48, is one of the good guys in the golf industry, joining my list of favorites such as Bob Ford, Jim Urbina, Bill Coore and Davis Sezna. Anderson started teaching in 1984. After a run of eight years working with the Golf Digest Schools and learning from Jack Lumpkin, Bob Toski, Tom Ness and Scott Davenport, to name a few, Anderson went to Golf Magazine for a few years. Anderson has been back with Digest since 2004, and throughout our day together he took some time to reflect on what this award means to him. "I learned a little bit from everybody," he says. "I think that base allowed me to adapt to different students."
The tour players Anderson works with on a regular basis are Brandt Snedeker, Brett Quigley, Charles Warren and Billy Horschel.
Anderson says he was fortunate to pull ideas and teaching concepts from the best of the best. "So many people have influenced me; it's not something I've done on my own. You don't achieve this type of award by yourself. I have a supportive family, close friends, and I had opportunities."
Word of this award is just now getting out, but Anderson has already received more than 60 phone calls and e-mails of congratulations. I asked him where he goes from here. "Maybe it's time to retire?" he said, laughing.
Given my summer swing struggles, I was going to scrap the idea of playing golf with Anderson (I was sure he had much better things to do). My plan was to convince him to watch me hit a large bucket of balls instead of watch me hit a small bucket off the first tee just trying to get one in bounds.
No such luck. When I met Anderson at the front door of the Sea Island golf school, which is where Anderson has been based since 2004, he told me he had taken the liberty of filling out the foursome. "Grab your clubs," he said. "We're teeing off in 10 minutes. It'll be fun."
"Great," I said sheepishly. "Who do we have?"
"I've asked Tadd Fujikawa and John Engler to join us."
"Perfect." *Or not. *Two legitimate golfers would only fuel my level of embarrassment. Fujikawa, 19, was the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Open when he was 15 (Winged Foot in 2006). Engler was a three-time All-American at Clemson (2001) who was in a car accident in 2003 that almost cost him his life.
For more on Engler, an update on Fujikawa, and details on how our match went down to the 18th hole of the Plantation Course at Sea Island, check in tomorrow.
(Photograph by Dom Furore.)