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Published: 3/20/2011

10 Questions: Connell Barrett

BY DAVE HACKENBERG
BLADE SPORTS COLUMNIST

Connell Barrett was born in Cincinnati, but moved with his family to Perrysburg as an infant and considers himself a Toledo-area native. He attended St. John's Jesuit, graduating in 1989, and was a 1993 graduate of Bowling Green State University. Barrett, 39, has lived in New York City since 1998 and is editor-at-large for Golf Magazine.

1. How long have you been with Golf Magazine and what are your primary duties?

"I joined the staff in 2003. A couple years ago, Golf Magazine and Sports Illustrated merged, so now I write and edit stories for both publications. I love covering golf, but I wouldn't mind a promotion to SI's swimsuit issue. I've told my bosses I'm available; I'm just waiting for the call."


2. One of your claims to fame is being the last journalist to interview the legendary Byron Nelson, who spent several years in the early 1940s here in Toledo as the pro at Inverness Club, before his death in 2006 at age 94. Do you have a favorite memory of that interview at his ranch in Texas?

"I walked into Nelson's house and noticed a framed photo from the '40s in which he was wearing a Mud Hens uniform from an exhibition game. That broke the ice. We talked about Toledo, golf, and life. He opened up about many things, including his first wife, Louise, who was left paralyzed after a stroke. She could only say one word — home. Compared to that, he said, golf isn't stressful. I'm very proud of that interview."


3. Do you have family still living in the Toledo area?

"My mom and dad, Denny and Greta Barrett, have lived in Perrysburg for nearly 40 years. My dad reads The Blade every day and loves Mud Hens games. Three of my siblings – sisters Kerry and Colleen and my brother Devin — live in the area too."


4. Did you play golf or any other sports in high school?

"I was on the St. John's tennis team for about 37 seconds, but my serve looked more like a defensive lob. I took up golf at BGSU and got hooked right away, even though I was terrible. I've spent more time in the woods than Little Red Riding Hood."


5. What prompted you to pursue journalism?

"I have to give a shout-out to Tom Harms, my English teacher at St. John's. He's a great teacher, and he encouraged me to follow my passion for writing and journalism."


6. Some of us who cover golf struggle to play it. What is your handicap?

"We ALL struggle with golf, as Tiger Woods is proving now. My handicap is 10, but it's a New York City handicap. I'd be better if I didn't have to practice putting on the subway."


7. What do you consider the best course you've ever played?

"I love the Stadium Course at TPC-Sawgrass near Jacksonville. The scary 17th island green hangs over your head the entire round. You feel it in your gut."


8. Which three people would you want to complete your dream foursome and where would you play?

"I'd play Pebble Beach with Arnold Palmer, for the stories; President Obama, to see his game, and Tiger Woods, so I could ask him, "What were you thinking?"


9. A lot of celebrities are into golf. Have you interviewed many?

"Last year, I oversaw a special celebrity issue of Golf Magazine, and I met Bill Murray, Will Ferrell, and Justin Timberlake. Ferrell is a total hacker. He told me, "Hitting it straight is so overrated. You see more of the course hitting it into someone's flower bed."


10. Journalists aren't supposed to ask for autographs, but whose would you most like to have and why?

"I'd pick Jack Nicholson, because he's a legend. Also, when Jack smashed that guy's windshield he used a 2-iron. I can get him some better equipment. When road rage kicks in, there's nothing better than an iron-wood hybrid."



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