I started last week at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, South Carolina, the only Korn Ferry Tour event where amateurs (including 25 amateur celebrities) compete with Korn Ferry pros A championship that fights side by side.
There is so much talent on the Korn Ferry Tour. Scottie Scheffler graduated from the Korn Ferry Tour to the PGA Tour in 2019, and this season, the Texans have won four of six events, including the Masters in April. He became the fifth player on the Korn Ferry Tour to reach No. 1 in the world.
In the 2021 BMW Charity Pro-Am, Chile’s Mito Pereira wins. Pereira made headlines at the PGA Championship a few weeks ago. He came just one par from winning his first major in the final round before crashing on the 72nd hole, his nerves in best control, his tee shot finding a small hole on the right side of the fairway. Brook, he stumbled home for a double bogey.
Last year was my first year playing in the celebrity division of the BMW Charity Pro-Am and I was paired with Austin Eckroat, one of several Oklahoma talents (Victor Hofland and Matthew Waugh) Elf was his roommate), which happened to be his first professional game.
Eckroat, a member of the Cowboys’ 2018 NCAA championship team, earned Korn Ferry Tour status through PGA Tour University, which grants top seniors status on the Korn Ferry Tour after the NCAA Tournament. And I’m happy to say that he’s been very good on and off the pitch and has helped me have the most memorable and fun experience. I also enjoyed talking to his dad Steve (who is also his coach) and his fiancée Sally Merrill, who have known each other since they were 18 months old!
This year, I played with Tom Lewis from England. He has won four professional games so far, but with his driving distance and accurate iron strokes, you’d think he’d win more! It’s so hard to win there! He didn’t make the cut.
As a freelance writer, I have covered various movements for decades usa today Early in my career, in addition to covering every professional team in the New York metro area, I was a producer/reporter for the ABC Radio Sports Network. After WFAN was formed in 1987, I was hired to host “Hey Liguori, What’s the Story”, the first all-sports radio station’s weekly phone show, where I went on to talk about all the pro teams in New York and, in addition, started Covers professional golf tournaments in the New York metropolitan area.
when i am the host Conversation with Ann Liguri on Golf Channel and sports interior For a weekly cable show, I interview a variety of professional golfers and cover a plethora of PGA Tour and LPGA Tour events. And I love the game and the personalities in the game so much that my primary broadcast/sports focus for the past two decades has been golf coverage and interviews with fascinating people in the game.
So I’m used to watching and reporting on top players. But playing with these professionals adds perspective and increases awareness of their level of competence and what they go through to be successful day in and day out. As an amateur, I have had many opportunities to play pro-am and have seen firsthand the depth of the professional game, from the LPGA Tour, PGA Tour, Korn Ferry Tour, Epson Tour and other developmental leagues.
The amount of talent there always impresses me. Competition is the hardest sport. Just ask Tom Brady, Michael Jordan and Stephen Curry, the three superstars who have a passion for golf and are continually fascinated by it. Even the best golfers have a hard time stringing victories year after year unless you’re a Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods or Annika Sorenstam in their prime.
BMW Charity Pro-Am attracts a diverse range of celebrities and offers programs for men, women and children throughout the week.
Last week, I participated in a panel discussion on women’s golf and the importance of golf as a business tool. Hall of Famer Amy Alcott then spoke and led a clinic. TV host Lauren Thompson hosts Alex Baldwin, the first woman in history to lead one of the PGA Tour’s six global tours as president, along with several others join. Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez, a multi-world champion in four weight classes, talked and signed autographs for hours with minority children in the range. Alvarez caught golf bugs only three years ago and ends every day with a “y.”
Last year, former Major League Baseball pitcher David Wells was one shot behind on his final hole where he hit a par 3 to win his division and a hole-in-one with a new car! BMW Charity Pro Am race director Michael McGovern mentioned that the competitive advantage of sports stars does not disappear with age. “You look at David Wells, how he handled the pressure when he was on the Yankees mound, a complete pressure player, when the pressure was on the link, he could still do it, in his day age. He won the championship last year, and the car wins with a single swing!”
I hosted an interview with baseball legend Roger Clemens, 9-time PGA Tour winner and 18-time PGA Tour winner Jay Haas. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young winner and two-time World Series champion, is a passionate golfer who, as one can imagine, smashes the ball off the tee. There is nothing I love more than talking to legendary athletes about their passion for golf and what they bring to the game from their respective sports. Clemens shared that golfing the day before and the day after his pitch gives him an edge, makes him more relaxed on the mound, and is a welcome outlet for him on the road. He plays golf as much as he can, but admits his wife Debbie is the best golfer in the family!
Ozzie Smith, David Wells, Ken Griffey Jr., former NFL WR Sterling Sharpe, operator Larry, actor Anthony Anderson (a bit dark) and Brian Baumgartner (office) is one of the biggest names in the field this year. You’re really happy to report that I’m playing better this year than last year. I made a couple of birdies and had my par, net birdie. Most importantly at this stage of my amateur golf life, my putting speed is much better. It just goes to show that practice in golf may not be perfect, but it really helps when you have time to practice!
Ann Liguori is a trailblazer in sports broadcasting. You can listen to her “Talking Golf” on WFAN-NY on Sundays from 7-8am and her “Sports Innerview” on WLIW 88.3 FM on Saturdays from 7-8am, and her Weekly podcast on SI Golf/Morning Read. For more information on Liguori, visit annliguori.com.
Know the Eastern Conference Golf Championship we should write about?Send ideas to [email protected].