Jimmy Roberts: ‘Justin Rose An Easy Guy To Root For’
Each month, Jimmy Roberts hosts “In Play,” a Golf Channel original series that explores some of the most interesting stories in the world of golf.
Roberts’ next episode, which airs Monday at 10 p.m. ET., will explore three marquee stories.
“The first one is a look back at what I said at the time – and I say it again and I’ll say it forever – but if it had happened, it would have been the greatest sports story of all time,” Roberts said on The John Feinstein Show. “If Tom Watson had won the British Open, it would have been remarkable. A 59-year old, 11 years older than the oldest man to have previously won a major championship – (it would have been) crazy.”
Watson finished runner up at the Open in 2009, losing a four-hole playoff to Stewart Cink at Turnberry.
“We spent a good deal of time and got a lot of cooperation from Tom in kind of taking a look back at that week and that story,” Roberts said.
The second story explores Golden Tee, which is actually the most popular and successful arcade game of all time.
“There are a bunch of people who actually make a living playing Golden Tee,” Roberts said, “(which is) both sad and frightening.”
The final story chronicles a 64-year-old woman playing pro golf in Arizona who five years ago had sex-reassignment surgery.
“It’s really pretty interesting stuff,” Roberts said. “I went in thinking one thing into reporting on the story and just came out feeling totally different about it.”
For now, Roberts is in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for the U.S. Open, an event that he has of course covered numerous times.
“I thought it was really cool,” Roberts said, reflecting on the first time he laid eyes on the course, which traditionally features firm and fast turf conditions. But it’ll be interesting to see how rain – particularly the violent storm Thursday night – affects the weekend.
Then again, maybe rain is better than sprinklers.
“We did a segment on my show last year about the significance of water usage in the golf industry,” Roberts said, “and this is going to become the single biggest issue for the game of golf going down the road because there’s just not going to be enough water on the planet to make all these places look like Augusta.”
In the past, Pinehurst used roughly 55 million gallons of water per year to irrigate its course. It is now using roughly 12 million.
“If this golf course isn’t fiery, it’s not going to be (nearly) as hard as people think,” Roberts said.
Roberts was also asked if he could do a documentary on one golfer – aside from Tiger Woods – who would it be?
“I don’t know,” Roberts said. “We’re fortunate out here because we have a lot of access to these guys – more so, I think, than in any other sport.”
Roberts deliberated further and eventually came to a conclusion.
“I think Justin Rose,” he said. “To do a documentary, you need a subject who’d be complex and interesting and have a great back story and also be willing to kind of share his honest thoughts. All of those things are the case about Justin Rose, who was the phenom of all phenoms. How far he fell was remarkable, and the fact that he was able to come back from the depths and win a U.S. Open Championship and rise to the stature he has risen to is really remarkable. And he’s such a decent and honest guy. He’s an easy guy to root for.”