Pete Wilson the local newscaster, not Pete Wilson the anti-immigrant former California governor, died on Friday during a hip replacement surgery. He was 62.
I met Wilson on a Saturday evening 17 years ago this month. I can be fairly certain about the date because I met somebody else famous that same day and I told Pete Wilson about it.
I was in a restaurant bar up in Marin County, drinking a Scotch and reading a golf book, Ben Hogan's book on the fundamentals of the swing. I saw Wilson come into the place for dinner and recognized him from the TV. As he was leaving, he stopped by and said to me, "You know, that is going to ruin your life."
"Golf or Scotch?" I asked.
He laughed. "Well, I was thinking about the golf, but you might have a point about the Scotch as well."
Turns out he was an avid player. In the obituary on sfgate.com, one of his friends said he was thinking about how soon he was going to be able to return to the links after the surgery. A blood clot put an end to those plans, sadly.
Back those many years ago, I told him I saw a kid play that day whose name he should remember. At the 1990 U.S. Junior Amateur played at Lake Merced, I saw a 14 year old named Tiger Woods lose in the quarterfinal round. Turns out, I'm one of the few people in the world who can say with confidence they saw Tiger Woods lose as an amateur. He would win the U.S. Junior the next three years in a row.
So farewell to Pete Wilson, who went out of his way to chat up some fellow golfer way back when.
New on the Flags of Many Lands list: