I actually began my journalism career at a young age. When I was 9, I had a letter published in John Justin Smith’s column in the Chicago Daily News, making fun of the Cubs. While I’m not sure if my writing has improved much since then, this White Sox fan still enjoys taking shots at the Cubs.
The letter put me on a clear career path. After graduating the University of Illinois, I began a 27-year career with the Chicago Tribune in 1981. I covered the Chicago Bears during their famous Super Bowl season in 1985 and spent three years as the beat writer for the White Sox. The teams were bad, but I got to write about Hall of Famers Carlton Fisk, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton (he actually talked once!) and Tony La Russa.
Later I got to cover a fellow named Tiger Woods as the Tribune’s golf writer. I took over the sports media column in 1997, and it quickly became one of my favorite beats. I got to ride in John Madden’s bus; spend a night watching basketball with Charles Barkley and Magic Johnson at TNT; and share lunch with David Halberstam, one of my journalism heroes.
After leaving the Tribune in 2008, I did a sports business blog for Crain’s Chicago Business. I continue to write about golf for several outlets and co-host a Saturday morning golf talk show on WSCR-AM 670.
I am the co-author of two books. Dan McNeil, a local sports radio personality, and I wrote The Great Book of Chicago Sports Lists (Running Press, 2008). I then teamed with long-time Washington Post reporter Leonard Shapiro on Golf Lists Mania (Running Press, 2011). Jim Nantz provided the foreword for the book, which included contributions from Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.
In the honors department, I was cited twice in the prestigious Associated Press Sports Editors contest with top 4 finishes for best news story. I was a three-time first-place winner in the Golf Writers of America Association contest in the enterprise category. In 1994, the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University presented him with the Excellence in Sports Journalism Award.
I live in the North suburbs of Chicago with my wife, Ilene, an accomplished lawyer and my sons, Matt and Sam, who inherited their father’s addiction for all things sports.
My favorite sporting moments? That’s easy: The White Sox winning the 2005 World Series and making birdies on 12 and 14 at Augusta National. Not bad for a 15-handicapper.