By Charlie Rymer
I’m extremely excited about the Season 2 debut of The Charlie Rymer Golf Show this Sunday, June 5, 8 a.m. ET on ESPN2! Lots of folks have worked tirelessly to get the show on air and it’s a real honor to be part of an amazing team.
Sure, I’m the guy in front of the camera, but my part is easy. The production and business teams have to do the real work. I just get to be me. We’re blessed with an incredible stage that is “The Golf Capital of the World” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and they even put together a super-school studio for those times we need to speak with our guests by remote.
Television is most definitely a team sport, and I’d put my team up against any in the business. On set I try to keep things fun and lively for our guests and crew. Sometimes we get off the tracks a little. Those are the most fun days. Let’s take a look back at a few moments behind the scenes – some from shows that aired in Season 1, and some from shows scheduled for later this year.
The pandemic hit as this show concept was just being conceived. Everyone in the world was scared to death, and nobody knew what was going to happen. When The Masters got postponed, I knew this COVID thing was real, and when I was hospitalized with it later that year I most certainly understood that it was real and serious.
As The Masters approached, I reached out to Jack Nicklaus to see if we could record a video call with him and use it as digital content. My idea was for him to answer one question: can you walk us through your final-round experience at The Masters in 1986? He agreed, and I was thrilled with what we got from him.
We taped the interview the week before and decided to release it on Friday of Masters Week. The only problem was that my friends at ESPN had the same idea. Scott Van Pelt did the same interview the same day I did, with Mr. Nicklaus in his kitchen on a Zoom call answering the same question (and even wearing the same shirt!). We had no idea ESPN was going to run that interview in their THURSDAY coverage of The Masters. We got scooped!
Lesson learned: if you have an awesome interview with the GOAT, run it fast.
Xavier “Xeve” Perez is a 12-year-old golfer who has chance to be a heckuva player. He already has a trophy room that is slammed full all the way to the ceiling. I’ve been watching him play for a couple of years now, and all the potential is there. You will be amazed at his swing in an upcoming CRGS episode.
Xeve has a HUGE heart and is one of the most polite kids I’ve ever been around. His dad is a veteran and Xeve has spent a lot of time in the veteran community, so respect for others is built into the cake. He has recently been in the golf news for signing lucrative name, image and likeness (NIL) deals. I’m happy for him, but also talked to him about the pressure that brings. He LOVES playing golf and I spoke to him about making sure he continues to play because he loves it, and not because he feels he has to. One of his passions is riddles. I’m not much of a riddler, and my head is still spinning from the day I spent with him. Just remember: if you ever get to meet him, he’s a hugger.
I’ve known Sterling Sharpe for a while now. He was on his way to enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame before his career ended early from injury. In an upcoming interview you’ll be surprised at the conversation we have about the injury and how it changed his life. You’ll also be inspired. He can come across as shy. Believe me, that’s far from the truth. In fact, I had to keep asking him to wait until we got on the course and cameras were rolling before we started. He’s an amazing person and I’m blessed that he’s a friend. And, oh yeah … he’s LONG! Wait until you see him hit the ball.
My all-time most favorite interview ever was on a Zoom call with Joe Namath. I had never met Joe and in prepping for the interview I realized that he was the first modern sports superstar. I knew he was, and is, a big deal. Because he was most prominent a little before my time, I didn’t realize he was the BIGGEST of deals. He was the perfect storm. And charisma is what drives the bus with Joe Namath. He was extremely prepared for my interview and he had done some research on ME. I couldn’t believe it!
Before we got started Joe asked me about Cleveland, Tennessee. I knew exactly where he was going because Cleveland, Tennessee isn’t exactly a hotbed of major league talent, and not many of us born there ever made it to the Big Leagues. Like me, Steve Sloan was born there and Steve was (and still is) the best athlete ever to come out of Cleveland, Tennessee. He played quarterback for Bear Bryant at Alabama, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons (unfortunately the Falcons didn’t draft an offensive line), was a head coach at several D1 universities, and served as athletics director at both Alabama and the University of Central Florida. He and Joe Namath are lifelong friends, and Joe couldn’t wait to tell me Steve Sloan stories including some about Steve’s dad (who was quite the character!). I walked away from that interview a HUGE Joe Namath fan.
Season 2 of The Charlie Rymer Golf Show launches this Sunday with Episodes 1 and 2 featuring two-time majors winner Dustin Johnson and television and film star Ray Romano. I spent time with Dustin last March at his World Junior Golf Championship at TPC Myrtle Beach, and he’s incredibly comfortable with the kids. I believe his three most comfortable places are inside the ropes at a PGA TOUR event, on a fishing boat, or talking to kids with a club in his hand. We have a fun blooper where I think you’ll see some personality you don’t normally see from DJ.
Ray Romano is exactly the way you would think he would be: DELIGHTFULLY neurotic. I started my Zoom interview with him in an uncomfortable discussion about the way the cameras were shooting me in the studio. He just couldn’t understand why we were doing it that way. He got all worked up and I finally talked him down. It felt like an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” He’s as passionate about golf as anyone I’ve ever known. And he’s funnier than you could have possibly imagined.
Looking forward to letting you, and the entire television world, experience these moments (and more) for yourselves as Season 2 of The Charlie Rymer Golf Show kicks off Sunday, June 5, 8 a.m. ET on ESPN2!