John Buccigross is one of the more accomplished golfers you’ll ever meet at ESPN. In fact, colleague Chris Berman has referred to him as a “scratch golfer,” or one whose average score is around par or better.
But as the 48-year-old Pittsburgh area native and “SportsCenter” anchor jokingly tells Zap2it, “My golfing acumen has always been overstated by others at ESPN because everyone else is so terrible.”
Still, anyone who once qualified for the Connecticut Amateur Championship and came close to the second stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open can’t be too incompetent on the links. And he’s had two holes in one, including one on a 300-yard par 4 at Rhode Island’s Newport Country Club.
“I stepped up on the drivable par 4 11th,” Buccigross recalls, “and hit a real nice high draw into the blue sky. I knew it was near the green and had a great chance for a birdie.
“Then my group noticed that two guys in the group in front of us were walking back to our green. We thought they forgot a wedge or something next to the green. Then they walk over to the hole, bend over and put their hands up in the air — hole in one!
“The kicker to the story is that all of the par 3s had a free car prize for a hole in one. I go out and get a hole in one on a par 4. They gave me 100 bucks of pro shop money and I got a fleece.”
While Buccigross admits his golf game has fallen off in recent years, he doesn’t regret the reason why.
“I dedicated [myself] to introducing, mentoring, and playing with my young two sons and daughter. As a result, my game has suffered a bit. I was once a one handicap and now am a four or five.
“But, I wouldn’t have traded those years for the world,” he says. “The game has made them better people.”