Carson Daly on caddying at Riviera and winning the Pebble Pro-am

carson daly

Carson Daly was once near-scratch in his peak golf years.

Getty Images

GOLF: You have to be on air for The Today Show at 7 a.m., so I’m guessing not a lot of morning tee times for you.

Carson Daly: No. But morning tee times my whole life have prepared me to get up early for The Today Show.

G: Touché. And getting up early to caddie as a kid, too.

CD: Yeah. The weather was so nice growing up in Santa Monica that I’d get up at five and sit in the caddie shack at Riviera. If I got an early loop, then I’d be done by noon and I had my whole day. I don’t mind getting up, being productive and trying to monetize the time that you lazy people waste on your beauty sleep.

G: In the ’80s, how much did a caddie at Riviera earn?

CD: Well, there’s a lot of rich people there. Probably 40 bucks for a single.

G: Any celebrity bags?

CD: A few. Marcus Allen. Peter Falk. I caddied for Columbo!

G: What’s the best tip you ever got?

CD: Don’t ever caddie for O.J. Simpson again.

G: You went to college on a golf scholarship and dropped out to try and qualify for the U.S. Open, right?

CD: I wasn’t feeling school, and I just loved golf so much. I thought, I really want to give this a shot. But at the end of the day I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have the game. When I tried to qualify for the U.S. Open, I had a disastrous hole and blew up the round.

G: A Tin Cup disaster?

CD: Totally Tin Cup. Palm Springs, hot as hell. I shot one or two over my first round; even through the next nine; but on my last nine, on a par-5 dogleg right, I snapped. Made, like, a nine. Round over. Never had a chance.

G: Then what?

CD: I started interning for Jimmy Kimmel, who was a DJ in Palm Springs. That was my foray into radio, which would be a whole new chapter of my life.

G: Did you ever get Kimmel out on the golf course?

CD: Unfortunately, many times. I love him like a brother, but he’s a terrible golfer.

G: What’s your handicap?

CD: I was a one or a two. Now, with four kids, I’m a 10. But a good 10.

G: Who’d crush it the longest off the tee: Savannah, Hoda or Al Roker?

CD: Wow, what a question. Al’s got banged-up knees and new hips and stuff. Hoda, I have no idea about. But Savannah is an excellent tennis player. She does yoga. Eats one meal a day. So I’m going to say Savannah. She’s competitive as all hell.

G: In 2017, you won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with Ken Duke. That had to be special.

CD: I tell my children to their face — it’s the highlight of my life.

generic profile image

Golf.com