I spent two days with Nager at Augusta National Golf Club back in February when we organized the Drive, Chip and Putt competition between the PGA, USGA and Augusta National. We stayed in the same cabin, dined together and actually teamed up to win a competition on the Masters course. These two days fell during the peak of the 90-day comment period on anchoring. It was an unlikely retreat and some would have viewed it as golf’s version of Sleeping with the Enemy.
On that first night at ANGC, I climbed out of a van that was taking us to dinner. I placed my right hand on the seat back for a brace. As I stepped out of the van, my hand came in contact with Nager’s face and I knocked his glasses off his face. He quipped, “Wait until the media gets a hold of this. Ted Bishop strikes Glen Nager and knocks his glasses to the ground.”
I remember Nager making a birdie on the 15th hole the following day. He is apologetic about his the quality of his game, which he shouldn’t be. He shot a 77 at Pine Valley’s Centennial in June. As you might expect, he is a grinder and a tough competitor. That, we have in common.
When his time is said and done in February, Nager will have left a profound mark on the USGA. Whether you agree with what he did or how he did it, the fact is that he negotiated the largest television contract in the history of golf and forever solidified the financial position of the USGA. He stood down the PGA of America and the PGA TOUR on the anchoring ban. Nager risked his reputation, his popularity and even his status at the USGA for principals that he believed in. For that, Glen Nager has to be a formidable person in the 2013 world of golf.