Ian Happ grew up around golf. His late father, Keith, was a senior agronomist for the USGA and board member of the First Tee of Pittsburgh, which promotes the game and its values to youth.
As a kid, any thoughts of being a pro golfer were fleeting.
"I wish," Happ said. "I wasn't good enough."
Golf's loss is the Cubs' gain.
Baseball gets all of Happ's attention with exceptions such as Tuesday evening, when three-time major champion Jordan Spieth threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field to promote this week's BMW Championship at Conway Farms.
"What a nice guy," Happ said Wednesday. "And an incredible golfer. His short game is unbelievable. I'm jealous."
Left-hander Mike Montgomery also chatted with Spieth, and they joked about how Montgomery gets to play golf for fun because it's not his job.
"You see good golfers and have so much respect for them," Montgomery said. "Man, I just want to break 80."
And Spieth just wanted to throw a strike. Though he drives and putts right-handed, he's a natural lefty who pitched and played first base on a youth travel baseball team.
From the mound at Wrigley, Spieth fired his left-handed pitch eye-high.
Said Spieth: "I'm like, 'Man, the only way you end up on ESPN is if you really screw this one up.' So I kind of bailed, threw it a little high. I definitely was nervous walking out there."
Spieth has thrown out first pitches at Wrigley, Fenway Park and his home stadium in Arlington, Texas.
"Three bucket listers for me," he said. "(Tuesday) night I got to hang out with some of the Cubs guys, the heroes of Chicago from what they did last year winning the World Series. It was a tremendous opportunity."
Happ, who once shot an 82 at Oakmont, spends his offseasons in Austin, Texas. Spieth played at the University of Texas, so Happ hopes they'll eventually tee it up together.
This article is written by Teddy Greenstein from Chicago Tribune and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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