During its storied history, the Annual Friends of Golf Tournament has produced a plethora of memories for Honorees, Board members, participants and sponsors. A regular FOGHORN feature is our readers, board members and Honorees telling us their Favorite FOG Memory. Choosing your favorite will probably be difficult. I know it was for me.
IAN CROCKETT, FOG Board Member and FOGhorn Editor
“My favorite occurred at my first FOG. After a morning round, I went into the Clubhouse and found myself sitting next to Ken Venturi. A couple a chairs away was the late CBS Golf Producer, Frank Chirkinian, considered the “Father of Televised Golf” and a recent recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. I’m not sure if it was because I was giddy being at my first FOG or they were on a roll, but for two hours they told stories about the Bing Crosby Pebble Beach Clambake, complete with Phil Harris, Clint Eastwood and Jack Lemon stories. I laughed so hard, my stomach hurt for two days. By the way, none of their stories are suitable for print since FOGHORN is a family publication.”
Here’s a few more to get you started thinking about your Favorite FOG Memory. The first one is an excerpt from Golf Digest in which Tiger Woods discussed his first encounter with Jack Nicklaus.
“Mr. Nicklaus, as I called him back then, was conducting a clinic at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, a short drive on the expressway from my home in Cypress. I was part of the show, sponsored by the Friends of Golf (FOG) Tournament, having been selected by head pro Eddie Merrins to put on a ball striking exhibition. I was 15 and a Nicklaus disciple from the time I was able to understand his stature in the game. If you aspire to be the greatest, you must first have a clear picture of greatness. Mine appeared bigger than life, towering over opponents as he dominated professional golf. So you can imagine my surprise when I first met Jack Nicklaus and discovered I was taller.”
“Getting to be in the same room and get to meet Carroll Shelby. When I was growing up, I was into fast cars, dirt bikes, anything that went fast and he was truly The Legend.”
“Having the opportunity to introduce John Wooden during the dinner and awards banquet, a man I admired for so long and then Ben Howland. Then watching Al Michaels interview John Wooden during dinner discussing his views on life.”
SAL CIMBOLO, FOG President
“There are many great memories, but having the opportunity to play with former Master’s champion, Raymond Floyd one year was a highlight for me. He’s a terrific individual, a real gentleman and gave the group valuable tips during our round.”
RON PAOLUCCI, Past FOG President
“My favorite memory of FOG was in the year that Chi Chi Rodriguez was our Honoree. I drove him around in a cart during the afternoon round and he looked for shots that were in trouble and showed the players how he would handle the situation. It was a remarkable demonstration of shot making over, under, through and around trees always resulting in a ball on the green. We then came up to our par three 5th hole where Tiger Woods was playing. I’m not sure whether Tiger was still in high school or in his first year at Stanford, but he hit a very nice shot to the green. Chi Chi jumped out of the cart and berated Tiger for hitting a high shot into the wind. He told Tiger he should hit a lower punch shot in that situation and insisted that he tee up another ball and do it properly, which Tiger did beautifully. Chi Chi came back to the cart muttering, “These young guys have a lot to learn about this game”.
I have had the honor of participating in the annual FOG Tournament for the past six years. How can one pick a “favorite” memory when I can recall Coach Wooden’s speech, Al Michaels and Johnny Miller or Rocco Mediate or shaking hands with one of my favorite people of all time Mr. Kenny Venturi!? FOG has provided me with some of the most extraordinary, memorable, fun, humbling experiences of my life! One moment of moments that stands out is the evening that Robert Loggia sang the National Anthem with a pride and passion I will never forget! To my friend Salvatore Cimbolo you have blessed me with your friendship, support and kindness and I am so very grateful! To Tammy and staff ….you are the BEST! To my friends who join up every year ….thank you too!
Thank you for including Ernie into FOG. He is an outstanding world ambasador.