Doug Ferguson is a word-artist. He writes newspaper columns. He would be about twenty years my junior, but we have been great friends since day one. As an aspiring writer for the Associated Press, his beginning beat called him to randomly stir up something (anything) to report from the Tulsa surroundings. One could tell he had a gift for writing; but that he knew he had not yet struck gold.
We are alike in many ways; he's a golf nut and I, too, have clubs. Maybe fifteen years ago I beefed up my erratic game by buying a sharp looking golf bag. The snazzy Wilson red, white, and blue had pockets which had pockets. I paid good money for it (maybe two weeks earlier) hoping I could at least look the golf part when I suited up. Lavish praises came from Doug one entire Saturday morning round regarding what a sharp looking new bag I had. I couldn't decide if he liked the bag that much or if there was little else about my game in which to make comment.
Afterwards our foursome stopped at a nearby convenience store. I was inwardly struggling as to whether to sacrifice my special (and brand new) Wilson bag. Decisiveness needed to be quick and accurate. While Doug was buying his Pepsi, I swapped my new bag for his lesser one and reloaded the clubs. My friend was both surprised and pleased. I could tell I had made the right decision.
Later on Doug struck gold being promoted to chief golf writer for AP. About twice a year UPS delivers surprise packages to my door from him. Everything from Masters' shirts and caps to British Open ties to new clubs come from this dear friend. Yesterday Doug passed along over $2000 worth of tickets for this week's PGA Tournament at Southern Hills.
Doug's nature would be to do all of this for me if I had never given him a thing. However, more than once, I have surely been glad I handed over my treasured new golf bag. It may have been pretty, but it has given so much back to me over the years. And, if truth be known, I feel that I played a major role in shaping Doug's career. No man can cover golf's Major Championships week after week and year after year with a rattly golf bag.
The next time you read a golf story which has Doug Ferguson AP beneath the headlines, you just remember it was me who got this man his job!