There are a few words in the English language that have always embarrassed me a bit, especially when directed my way.
One is "talent", in reference to broadcast personnel. It's used in this case to separate those behind the camera from those in front and it assumes a great deal, if you take the word at its base value. It assumes you have some. In many cases across our land, that is an awkward and often erroneous assumption.
The other word is "celebrity" which is what I am thought to be this weekend in Wilmington, North Carolina at a long-time charity gathering known as the Coastal Classic Celebrity Golf Tournament.
There, you see the reference now, don't you? We who are invited from long-distance and get our pictures in the program and head up a team of golfers have the word "celebrity" in large letters on our badges. That's to let those who have absolutely no clue who we are know we are special.
"I'm a celebrity," said the great entertainer Gary Mule Deer once, "because it says so right here."
So often I have gone to one of these "celebrity-charity" events and introduced myself to my team on the first day, only to have someone ask:
"Does anybody know who our celebrity is today?"
It's humiliating to have to answer "um, that would be me."
We come in various shapes, sizes, and degrees of celebrity. But we all are there to entertain. The comedians tell jokes all day. The athletes tell war lies. I tell Tiger stories and try to stay out of the way.
I play in a few of these events across the country during the course of the year, a wonderful chance to give back. Each works feverishly in their communities to raise money for one charity or another, sometimes dozens of them at a time. And they raise astonishing amounts. One, in Lexington, Ky., raised a couple million in one weekend!
Why they would want me, I've never quite been sure. I'm guessing they aren't exactly lining up to pay large sums to play with an old guy with a bad back and a padded handicap. But I'm grateful, especially after the obligatory trip to the hospital or childrens home that I still get asked.
I'm not sure about the "celebrity" part yet. I know it doesn't have to do with "talent".
Your response to "A Sense of Huber" has been, quite frankly, a little overwhelming. I'm grateful that you read this and even more pleased when you take time to write, ask questions, make comments, etc.
Luis Midence III of Lake Worth, Fla., e-mailed: have been watching a bit of golf this year and it seems that things are so different from just a few years ago. I have been fixing golf clubs for 20 years and know a little bit about technology in the game of golf.
My question: How much has technology played in the awesome distances we are seeing these days? I mean 140 PW??? 250-270 with 3 hybrids??
Luis, technology has played a huge role in the advancement of every corner of golf over the last half-century or so. From clubs to agronomy to balls, it just gets better and stronger and faster. But I think the growth of the touring pros themselves has played just as large a part. As Tiger Woods so aptly put it during his pre-Masters press conference "We're getting good athletes now playing golf. Guys like Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodlands both played basketball, both can dunk, but they chose golf instead".
It is a fine combination of factors, then, that has elevated our pros. (I'm assuming you yourself don't hit a hybrid 270}
Justin Nicholson e-mailed: I know you've covered a lot of sports in the past, not just golf, and I'd love to know what you would say was the most emotional moment you've ever been a part of, and why.
Justin, there have been dozens of moments that have reduced me to a blithering idiot over the years, more as I have grown older, but I don't think any one incident touched me as deeply as that rainy late Sunday afternoon at Winged Foot in 1997 PGA Championship. I was standing off to the left of the 18th green, huddled under an umbrella with a golf writer, when Davis Love III rolled in the putt to win…just as a pair of rainbows sparkled over the property. Knowing how much that championship meant to DL3 for a number of reasons and to have that moment embraced by nature's colorful umbrella, well, it was tough holding the tears back.
Thanks again for all the response. Remember, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, use the PGA.com Facebook page or catch me on Twitter @jamesrhuber. I'll try and answer as many as I have time and space for.