NCGA Golf

Summer 2019

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T he year was 1994. Tiger Woods was a freshman at Stanford, golf courses were opening seemingly every week in Northern California, and a new show called "Hooked on Golf" began airing on local cable and radio. Woods moved on to greater things and the course build- ing boom eventually fizzled, but the "Hooked on Golf " radio program, now in its 26th year on KNBR, remains a weekly staple for Bay Area golf fans. The "Hooked on Golf" TV show also enjoyed a long run before being dropped in 2008. "We were on longer than 'Bonanza,' but we didn't quite make 'Gunsmoke,'" quipped "HOG" co-host Mitch Juricich (pictured above, right). Juricich launched "Hooked on Golf" with Jan Hutchins, a prominent Bay Area sports announcer. But it wasn't long before Hutchins gave way to John Abendroth, and a suc- cessful partnership was born. Perhaps Juricich and Abendroth have worn so well because they are so close to their audience. Both men are native San Franciscans who are immersed in the local golf scene. Abendroth is a PGA professional who grew up work- ing in the Harding Park pro shop for Fred Venturi, Ken's dad, and he's been an Olympic Club member for 53 years. Juricich is a lifelong golfer who founded Tournament Event Enterprises in 1996. Tom Spencer, a former KNBR employee and Jim Nantz's right-hand man at CBS, is the de facto third member of the team. He checks in at the start of every show to talk about what's happening on the PGA Tour and around the world of golf. "He's like our kid brother," Juri- cich said. "He's the best part of the show." Over the years, they've landed some of the game's biggest names. Abendroth fondly recalled that one of their first big interviews was an hour with Sam Snead, who recalled hitting balls with a golf club he had whittled from the root of a willow tree. But their primary goal has been to promote golf in and around the Bay Area. Their "Super Bowl of golf " each year is the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. They typically broadcast for eight hours during the weekend at Pebble Beach, and had a similar presence in June at the U.S. Open. By now, an entire generation of Bay Area golfers has been raised on "Hooked on Golf." Local golfers sometimes approach Abendroth and say something like this: "My dad and I used to watch the show, and I started playing golf in high school because of the show, and now I'm a 9-handicap. Thank you so much." "Hooked on Golf" is still going strong, even as Aben- droth, 66, and Juricich, 71, are easing into semi-retirement. Nagging injuries prevent them from playing as much golf as they would like. Abendroth spends as much time as possible fishing for salmon near Muir Beach, while you're just as likely to find Juricich entertaining participants at a local golf outing. But every Saturday morning, they still rise early to share the "Hooked on Golf" gospel with the Bay Area faithful. "We weren't in it for the money," Juricich said. "We were in it for the love of golf." 32 SUMMER 2019 | NCGA.ORG This dynamic duo's weekly golf radio show has hooked listeners for 26 years and counting By Martin Kaufmann A s part of its efforts to help shape the next generation of golf industry leaders, the NCGA an- nually recruits P.J. Boatwright interns among its staff. The internships provide college students and additional qualified applicants with valuable experi- ence at an Allied Golf Association, where they can pre- pare for careers in golf administration. Since its inception in 1991, the P.J. Boatwright Internship Program, named for one of the USGA's most respected executive directors, has provided nearly $30 million to fund more than 2,500 internships at the state and regional golf association level. "Through the P.J. Boatwright Internship Program, we've been able to make a meaningful impact on both individuals and countless golf organizations and a significant contribution to the future of our industry," USGA CEO Mike Davis said. "We're preparing future generations of talent to take on key leadership roles within the game." To learn more or visit current opportunities, please visit usga.org/content/usga/home-page/about/career-opportunities/ usga-internship-opportunities-pj-boatwright-golf.html Opening Doors THE MEDIA: Abendroth and Juricich

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