Nothing pumps up a gallery like the celebration that follows a tournament-winning putt. From Tiger’s famous fist pumps to Phil Mickelson’s Masters-winning leap, players’ exuberant displays of joy and achievement are a unique and wonderful part of the game.
Former PGA Tour pro and longtime Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee has witnessed pretty much all of golf’s most remarkable moments over the past few decades, so he knows a thing or two about memorable celebrations. It may come as a surprise then that Chamblee’s favorite celebration isn’t Tiger’s fist pump from the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, or even Justin Leonard’s lap around the green at the 1999 Ryder Cup. Instead, it’s his Golf Channel colleague Notah Begay III’s winning moment from the 2000 Travelers Championship.
On this week’s episode of Subpar, Begay explained that his moment of triumph was Chamblee’s favorite celebration “by far,” and even recreated the moment in the studio. As Begay laughed, he explained to hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz exactly what it was that made the celebration so special.
“I’m a huge soccer fan,” Begay began. “When they score in soccer, it’s the greatest. They’ll go 90 minutes 0-0, and finally somebody scores. So you always see [Cristiano] Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi or [Diego] Maradona, whoever, they always run to the side and they point to the crowd and blow kisses to the crowd. Well, I did both! I double-gunsed it to the crowd, and then I blew them kisses!”
(Watch a clip of Begay’s winning moment above, beginning at the 1:15 mark.)
As Knost and Stoltz cracked up, Begay continued.
“Let me tell you why,” he said. “I was Shooter McGavin before Shooter McGavin. It was my second win in a row, in consecutive weeks. And it was a walk-off win.”
Begay said he was in the last group, playing alongside Mark Calcavecchia. The two were tied heading into the final hole, and Begay faced a 25-foot birdie putt to win, which he drained.
“When do you get a walk-off?” Begay asked. “So, I was just thanking the fans, who I knew were happy to not have to watch a playoff. And I double-gunsed them for it.”
For more from Begay, including why he got recruited to play golf while on the basketball court, and the most impressive thing he’s ever seen Tiger Woods do, check out the full interview below.