Roger Maltbie will be working his 11th Ryder Cup for NBC.
However, back in 1991, Maltbie feared his broadcast career was over after his first Ryder Cup.
In today’s My First Job, an on-going series on people’s first forays in the business, Maltbie discusses why he decided to leave the PGA Tour even though he still was exempt to play for several more years.
And Maltbie talks about how he told off the producer in the aftermath of Mark Calcavvechia’s meltdown at Kiawah in 1991. When the confrontation happened, he didn’t expect to be on hand for a second Ryder Cup.
Roger Maltbie: Announcing came out of the blue. In 1987, NBC tried out a bunch of us at Kapalua. Koch was there. Johnny Miller. Dick Stockton. Irwin. They offered me a job, but I said, ‘No thank you. For what you’re offering me, it doesn’t make sense.’
They asked me again in ’89. They had a big schedule of events. I wasn’t interested. I wanted to play more golf.
By 1991, I had two shoulder surgeries. I had won the World Series of Golf in 1985. That gave me a 10-year exemption through ’95. I could still play, but I wasn’t the same.
They asked if I wanted to do the Bob Hope. I said, ‘OK, but only if you give me the Ryder Cup (later that year in Kiawah).’ The Ryder Cup was getting big, and I wanted to be there.
I remember on the last day Mark Calcavecchia lost the last five holes of his match. (Producer Terry O’Neill) said, ‘Leave your match and go find Calc to get an interview.’ Calc was in a TV trailer. Peter Kostis was trying to console him.
Mark was in no condition to talk. He thought he just cost the U.S. the Ryder Cup. He was physically ill. His eyes were swollen shut from crying. I walked in, took one look. Peter shook his head. I said, ‘I get it.’
I walked back to the compound, and O’Neil was in the doorway. I said, ‘I found Calc, but he can’t speak.’
He said, ‘I told you to stay with him. Stay with him and he’ll talk.’
I said, ‘I’ll tell you what, pal. Why don’t you stay with him and maybe he’ll talk to you. I’m not doing it.’
I wasn’t going to be the reporter standing outside the house that’s burning down trying to interview the people who own it.
I figured, ‘Well, so much for the TV thing.’ I thought, there’s no way they’re going to hire me now.
Thankfully, they did.