October 4, 2007

10 Questions With Golf's Chad Bernstein

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Before playing his first match of the season at the Delaware Invitational, senior tri-captain Chad Bernstein hit the range with Sun Assistant Sports Editor Lance Williams. Williams was quickly removed after hitting a five-year-old with a shank.

1. I like to start off a little easy, so why do you play golf? Why would you want to pursue golf of all the other sports in the world?
Chicks dig the long ball
[Laughing] Chicks dig the long ball!
And it’s a lot easier. I mean it’s a walk in the park compared to football. We see those guys in the weight room and they’re grinding it out; we’re just enjoying life.
So you’re saying you have the pleasure of being a Division I athlete without necessarily…
Let’s put it this way, we wake up on Saturday morning, we throw on our golf bags and the sun is coming up and we get to walk in the woods.
That’s deep.
Whereas football players have to wake up at seven in the morning and get the shit kicked out of them. You tell me which one you would want.
Nice, I like your style. Great answer.
I give you what you need to know.
2. Why don’t your teammates borrow your camera anymore?
[Smiling] There was an incident…
[Laughing] What kind of incident?
Some private things were revealed that should not have been revealed.
[Laughing] Do you want to start from the beginning and tell the whole story?
No, not really.
No? Sorry man you just can’t say no on 10 Questions.
As Tommy Boy would say, “why say no when it feels so good to say yes?”
What does that even mean. So what was on the tape?
There were some intimate moments revealed on the videotape that should have just been kept to myself and they weren’t related to my golf swing.
O.K. so let’s give the readers some context. You were trying to tape your golf swing with some teammates and you forgot to take the tape out, correct?
Yes.
And a few of your teammates happened to see you doing what on this tape?
Things other than golf, can we move on?
[Laughing] No not yet. Were you possibly snapping your fingers and singing to yourself?
[Laughing] Yes I was singing.
Anything else happening?
No, no.
Now can I ask you why you would possibly tape yourself snapping your fingers and singing alone in your room?
[Laughing] You can ask, but I don’t have to answer.
[Laughing] Wow, you’re going to deny it.
I’m not denying it I just don’t want to reveal it. It happens. Whatever happens, happens, I just don’t want to go into it.
O.K., water under the bridge.
It was three years ago, I’m a grown man since then.
It was three years ago? I thought it was from, like, middle school. That’s just embarrassing.
3. We went to middle school together, so here is a little trivia for you to see how good your memory is. Could you please tell me the name of the movie that we went to see on a double date in seventh grade?
Who were our dates?
See that was a bonus question I had in store, you need to answer that one too.
[Laughing] O.K., so my date was Katie Levine, which is funny because she goes to Cornell now.
This is true. She’s probably reading this. And who was my date?
Oh man, it wasn’t Maria was it?
No, when you go to McDonalds you get a ham…?
Yes, Carly Berger was your date. And I believe the movie was some sort of Freddy Prince Jr. type thing. Maybe 10 Things I Hate About You, something like that?
No, not what I’m looking for man. And I’m reluctant to admit this but how about this wild card: Forces of Nature with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock.
No, I find that hard to believe.
It’s sad but true.
No recollection of Forces of Nature.
Damn, I really hoped we were going to have a connection there.
[Laughing]
4. Do you have any nicknames on the team?
The bear.
The bear? Why’s that.
I’m hairy.
[Laughing] I guess that makes sense.
I hit it far and I like to eat. That pretty much covers it.
Simple as that. Is there any name possibly along the lines of Giggles 1 or Giggles 2.
[Laughing] Yeah.
[Laughing from senior tri-captain Robbie Fritz in another room]
And that is Giggles 1 right there as he laughs in the background. Yeah we used to sit in the back of the van going to tournaments, crack jokes and laugh among ourselves. And no one else would be laughing so we would be the idiots whispering secrets and laughing.
So you guys are little gossip queens on the bus.
Pretty much, we’ve outgrown that now.
And so your coach started calling you Giggles 1 and Giggles 2, right?
Yeah but now we have a nickname for him too. We were making fun of him for being old…
[Interrupts] That’s just not nice.
He said well, I’m a young buck, just call me bambi.
Bambi? Why would he want you to call him that?
He’s young and agile.
But apparently he’s not; he’s old and stiff. So who is Giggles 1 and who is Giggles 2?
I’ll give Giggles 1 to Robbie.
That’s very nice of you to give that up.
Well he has more of a distinct giggle, almost a cackle.
I will give you that, he might have a cackle. Just how close are you with Mr. Fritz?
Well Mr. Perry lives right there and Mr. Fritz lives right here so we can yell to each other whenever we want. The three of us have grown up together on the golf team, so we’re pretty close. They both help me with my game when I’m in dire need, which takes a special person.
Anything else they help you with?
Schoolwork and life.
5. So why don’t you have a Facebook profile? I tried to get some material for this interview and it didn’t work out for me.
Well originally it was because we were told after the Duke lacrosse scandal that we would get in trouble for pictures. So we got rid of it and then I got back on for a little bit and didn’t like the changes.
Yeah, very intrusive.
I’m not a texter either. If people want to talk to me, you come talk to me face-to-face. If you text me you’re getting nothing.
[Laughing] You don’t text at all?
I don’t text and I don’t like the phone. If you want to talk, call me and we’ll make a meeting and get down to business.
[Laughing] I like that, you’re old school. It’s a whole generation of texters and Facebook stalkers.
And they’re all not going to be able to talk to me. Also if I’m eating dinner and someone is going to work on their Blackberry, it kills me.
Yeah I hear that. Don’t get me started on the Blackberry.
6. Your pictures frequent The Sun, partially because I put them there a lot…
I appreciate that.
No problem. And you always seem to have like a Tiger-esque focus on your face every time; it is just a distinctly Chad expression. Are you posing for the camera?
I hit good shots. That’s what I do.
[Laughing] And you like to stare at the good shots, I understand. But what the hell are you thinking about?
You try to think about nothing. You practice all week for this tournament. I’m playing in my first tournament this weekend, so it should just come naturally. You pick your target and hit the ball.
Do you not see the camera guy there?
No. I mean if he’s in front of me I try not to hit him.
Yeah I’ve always wondered how the pros concentrate so well and not hit all of those rows of people like 10 feet to the left of them.
I almost think it helps them focus because when I miss, I hit a tree. If they miss, they kill a little five-year-old.
7. Who is your favorite PGA golfer?
Scott Verplank.
Who the hell is Scott Verplank?
So here’s how it goes. I used to get this magazine called Golfsmith and he was on the cover. And he was the Comeback Player of the Year in 1994 when he played in the U.S. Open at Shinecock Hills. So me, my dad and this other guy were the only people watching this guy on every hole. And he’s had back injuries neck injuries, he has diabetes and they call him the bulldog because he never relents. He has a very unique swing, is a great putter and gritty competitor.
Interesting.
Think about it, who wants to be Tiger Woods.
I do.
But if you’re Tiger, you walk into an airport and everyone wants your autograph. If you’re Scott Verplank, he makes a couple million a year and no one knows him. He’s got the life.
But Tiger has a swedish model for a wife and will become the richest man in all of sports soon. So I just think it’s a little weird that of all people you pick Scott Verplank…
[Ignoring] No one wants to face this guy; he’s on all the Ryder Cup teams and all President Cup teams. He’s just a gritty competitor.
All right take it easy. I got it, you love him.
8. How often would you say you watch the Golf Channel?
Lately, not that much. But over the summer I probably watch the Golf Channel three hours a week. During the U.S. Open though I basically don’t miss a minute of telecast. I start on Wednesday at 4 p.m., and go straight through to Sunday. It takes up my whole weekend.
How much of that time do you think is taken up by infomercials?
[Laughing] Is that a loaded question?
Maybe, I just heard you may or may not be a TV infomercial-maniac.
I do like infomercials; I probably watch them for half an hour a week.
[Laughing]
How many items have you bought from them.
Well, this [points to putter leaning on wall] momentus putter was from an infomercial.
What does that do?
Nothing.
[Laughing]
It’s virtually a weapon now. I would say I have about four items that I use now from infomercials.
Do you remember Dalton?
[Laughing] Hit the ball as straight as you can point! Yeah, how is your dad playing?
Dude my dad is a four or five handicap now.
Really?
I kid you not. He was third or fourth in the club championship at my country club.
No, wasn’t he a 15 at one point?
Yeah it’s crazy.
9. So you mentioned to me that you read my column on Tuesday. We both took the LSATs last weekend, and I said in my article that I would rather take a Tyson punch to the kidney than go through that process again. Would you agree with that?
I heard that getting punched in the face by Mike Tyson is the same as putting a telephone book up to your head and getting a baseball bat swung at it.
Ughh, I believe it.
So the answer is I would take the LSAT again.
I’m not saying take it again, I’m saying erase all of your memory and start the process over from the beginning.
Well I actually enjoyed studying for it until I took the test.
Are you serious? You’re telling me you enjoyed all of those long nights doing timed sections? Are you crazy?
I’m going to be honest, I enjoyed it until I took the test.
You’re a varsity golfer; didn’t you not have any time to do anything?
I’m only taking 11 credits…
I’ve only been taking 12, and I still got my ass kicked.
Yeah but you’re on the newspaper.
I would say golf takes up more time than The Sun.
We probably practice two-and-half hours a day plus the entire weekend we’re gone for tournaments. But it’s so much more enjoyable than the newspaper. [Laughing]
[Laughing] I’m not going to argue with you there. You enjoy going to the course everyday, I don’t enjoy going to The Sun everyday. That’s basically the difference between you and me.
[Laughing] Yeah that’s about right. You have a choice between The Sun or the LSAT, which is like choosing between hell and hell.
Yeah I guess the lesser of two evils.
10. O.K. my friend I think we’ve reached the end of the road. Who is the hottest women’s team at Cornell?
Well I’ve got a girlfriend so I have to censor this…
No, you’re good man.
But we would like to thank the track team for giving us something to look forward to when we’re playing badly. They use our facilities.
What do you mean your facilities?
They run on the golf course.
Really?
Yeah, you’re on the eighth hole, playing like garbage and you see a nice looking girl jogging by and it gives you something to smile about.
[Laughing] Well said.
It’s beautiful.

10 Questions with Lance Williams will appear on Thursdays, unless Lance runs into “Iron” Mike Tyson in a dark Ithaca alley. He can be reached at lwilliams@cornellsun.com.