“I ain’t here for a long time. I’m here for a good time”
Twenty-five years ago today, January 17,1995, Joseph E. Gibbs and Arnold Palmer flipped a big ‘ol golf ball switch and the Golf Channel became a real life, bona fide, television network. I was there.
I was hired in October of 1994 to be the first, and at the time, only producer for the channel’s live domestic tournament coverage. I’ve written about it a bunch; in fact I wrote a whole darn book about my life in television and a lot of it was stories about my time at The Golf Channel. Go buy it and read it. You’ll like it.
People, so called experts, said a 24 hour, 7 day a week, 365 days a year, TV network devoted to golf would NEVER work. Never. Ever. My bosses at ESPN in October of 1994 said it too. Clearly they were wrong. There are a bunch of folks in Orlando, Florida celebrating today, and rightfully so, but by most accounts only FIVE of them have been employed by the all golf network since that amazing day in 1995. FIVE. I was there 18 of the 25 years, including day one of year one and spent the last couple days racking my brain trying to remember the names of the brave, talented, slightly to mostly crazy, wonderful, folks who were there with me.
My list doesn’t include the freelance folks our live tournament team hired to put the PGA TOUR, The Nike TOUR and the LPGA on the air. Karel Schliksbier, Emmett Loughran, Chuck Whitfield, and Daisy Phipps hold a special place in my heart. So do Donna Caponi, Denny Schreiner, Jim Nelford, Gary Smith and Kay Cockerill.
The names of the full-timers come from a 64 year old’s memory. I know I forgot a bunch of folks and probably added one or two who weren’t actually there on 1/17/95 but the point is this… These are the people who deserve to be celebrated today. These are the people, in no particular order, who took a chance, believed in a dream, worked their tails off to make it a reality, and should sit back today – 25 years later- and smile.
Joe Gibbs, Bob Greenway, Gary Stevenson, Mike Whelan, Del Wood, Chris Murvin, Matt Scalici, Peter Gordon, Jeff Gershengorn, Jeff Hymes, Mark Friedman, Chris Lincoln, Sue Heard, Brian Hammons, Kraig Kann, Lynda Cardwell, Duane Ballen, Tom Nettles, Paul Farnsworth, Lori Dawson, Mark Oldham, David Graham, Lee Siegel, Ken Garren, Peter Kesler, Kirsten Sheen, Lara Ibarra, Chris Sullivan, Philip Hurst, Leslie Williams, David Manougian, David Kamens, Ben Lord, Gene Pizzolato, Tim McClelland, Dana Parker, Josh Schwartz, Lee “Nate” Rosenblatt, Marty Jenkins, Tomi McElroy, Chris Flynn, Dave Desmond, Mason Seay, Brett Bowman, Mike Ritz, Bob Van Dorn, Scott Van Pelt, Pam Cooke, Mark Lye, Jennifer Mills, George White, Bill “Action” Jackson, Chris DeCelle, Daryl Woody, Joy Hennenberger, Kevin Plate, Robby Roberts, Eric Saperstein, Bob “Swanny” Swanson, Drake Schunk, John Gibbs, Emilio San Martin, Rusty Billingsly, Jay Kossoff, Chris Olivere, Carol Dotson, Kenny Taht, Dawn Hiatt, Pat Devlin, Dana Parker, Steve Johnson.
I’m sorry to those who I forgot. It wasn’t intentional.
Congratulations Golf Channel on Twenty-five amazing years. Here’s to the next 25.