Celebrating 30 Years in Broadcasting

Chris Madsen: Celebrating 30 years in Broadcasting!

Shot a pilot at the Bob Hope Classic yesterday chronicling 2/15/1995…the day three Presidents–Bill Clinton, George H. Bush and Gerald Ford–tee’d it up for the first time ever at a PGA event. Reflecting on the day, was fellow Chicagoan Tom Dreesen, had the whole crew in stitches, while actor William Devane shared with me that he realized was in for a serious day of golf when he could see snipers positioned in the mountains while he was teeing off! Making his first appearance at the BHC in ’95 was Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra…and what a privilege it was to spend some time with one of the all-time greats…


…after an 8-minute interview on camera, #8 put his arm around me and we talked about one of my favorite topics–Baseball–for 15 minutes! Yogi told me how he developed his passion for golf by playing alongside his baseball friends Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial. Then he said, “stay here with me. I want to introduce you to a friend of mine.” So while we waited, our producer snapped this…

…then Mr. Berra and I picked up our conversation right where we left off. He told me how he was introduced to Arnold Palmer at a ball game and Arnie invited Yogi and Joe DiMaggio down to Florida for a weekend of golf. Yogi marveled, “can you imagine me–a ball player–getting tips from the greatest golfer on the planet? And he played with us everyday for three days!”


And that’s when Mr. Palmer’s cart pulled up. You heard me right…ARNOLD PALMER! Arnold asked Yogi if it was OK if he did an interview with us, and Yogi nudged him towards me an said, “Absolutely. You’ll love talking to Chris. He’s a good guy and he makes it a lot of fun!”

For the next 10 minutes, Arnold Palmer shared his memories of an historic day in PGA tour history. When I asked him how it felt not to be the star of the show at a PGA event, he quipped,”Well they were the Presidents of the United States of America!” Mr. Palmer, myself and the gallery erupted in laughter. When the interview was over, I said to Arnold, “May we take a picture–not of me and you–but of you and your friend?” And with that, two American icons put their arm around each other.
I humbly thanked both gentlemen for their time and asked if they would like me to get them a copy of the photo. Arnold Palmer reached out to me and said, “What you just did Chris was very, very sweet. Why don’t you keep the original with you, and I’ll keep a copy right here.”–as he pointed to his heart and gave Yogi Berra a warm embrace. Then Mr. Palmer, reached out with his right hand, patted my left cheek and said, “it was a pleasure meeting you, Chris. Good luck with the show.” And then, the two American Heroes faced a throng of autograph seekers and proceeded to tend to their requests with an elegance and warmth seldom seen anymore in our rabid sports society.
Reflecting on 30-years behind the mic, this glorious morning in Palm Desert will always be remembered as one of my most special days. Thank you sincerely, Mr. Dreesen, Mr. Devane, Mr. Berra, Mr. Palmer and our wonderful crew.
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Chris Madsen