A Walk Nearly Spoiled

By Conaway B. Haskins III
Updated: April 9, 2009

RICHMOND, Va. — Back in the day, I wrote for the Black Athlete Sports Network about a guy named Scott Yancy. At the time, Scott was an eager 23 year-old fresh off being eliminated from the second season of The Golf Channel’s reality show, “The Big Break”

Aside from the novelty of Scott being one of only two black contestants, and getting to speak with Eddie Payton (head coach of the HBCU golfing powerhouse Jackson State University and brother of my all-time favorite NFL’er, Walter Payton…one day, I’ll stop crying at the mere thought of how Sweetness left this world way too early), it was a pretty routine freelance assignment.

I got to run a print article about Scott and the other guy in the African American Golfer’s Digest quarterlymagazine to follow up on the earlie pieces done for the BASN. Apparently, black people playing pro golf was enormously fascinating in 2005 because of that Tiger Woods guy (and possibly, Bagger Vance).

Well, fast forward a few years, and Scott’s still trying to make it in the world of professional golf, which sometimes seems like a cross between “Dynasty” and ” Caddyshack” from afar.

Four years after flaming out on the Hooters Tour (they have wonderful wings), he’s back at it, hacking it out in local tournaments and random pro events that he can qualify for. And this time, he’s bringing a fascinating story with him.

Late last month, Scott’s former agent was convicted of swindling over $61,000 from Scott’s sponsor and others. As awful as this incident has been, it’s only the tip of the iceberg of the stranger-than-fiction tale of one man’s attempt at golfing glory…

a tale that I’ll attempt to illuminate in the coming days (and maybe weeks).

Pausing Scott’s story for a minute, there is even a back-story to my telling his story. Last year, in an attempt to shift my pent-up energy from not blogging for over a year, I took two writing workshops at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.

One was on “creative nonfiction” and the other was “memoir-writing.” The nonfiction workshop was wonderful, and visions of “A Perfect Storm” continuously danced in my head.

When it came time to write a story, I conjured up the idea of going back to follow up on my old blogging/writing days. It just so happened that Scott had recently emailed me about his attempt to get back on the horse.

So, I wrote a story about Scott that was a hit with my workshop mates, and in the weeks after the class ended I worked on it with every intention of submitting it for publication.

But, somewhere along the way – maybe about the time that I realized that there was a thin line between taking the follow-up memoir-writing workshop and going to psychotherapy – I got stuck with a bad case of writer’s block.

So, effectively, the 5,000 words on 12 pages stained with e-ink fizzled because I felt that my story lacked a tasty hook. Come March 2009 and the story was almost totally put on the shelf…until I saw the aforementioned news articles (hat tip: Scott Yancy).

Well, now, I have a newer hook (somewhat), and despite trying to pitch the idea of this story to various outlets with varying success, I realize that there is only one way that I can truly tell it like it needs to be told. I have to blog it.

So, as the spirit moves and as the drama unfolds, I’ll be writing about Scott and his 2009 golfing odyssey.

Now, you may be asking why I’m posting this stuff on a blog called “Get Out There, Richmond!”? Well, I live here, my computers are here, my phones that I used to make those long distance interview and research calls is here…and the Hooter’s Tour seems to be skipping Richmond this year after teeing it up at Lake Chesdin the last few years just when Scott’s heading back to try his had at that circuit.

Another Richmond angle is that Scott tried his hand at the Tarheel Tour last season (generally considered a step below the Hooters set), and he may make another go at it this year. There are three 2009 Tarheel events scheduled for Virginia courses all within earshot of Richmond, including ones in Petersburg/Chester, Farmville and >Gordonsville.

So, it’s sorta, kinda a local story.

Anyway, I won’t promise to give John Feinstein a run for his money (nor would I dare harm a hair on that wonderful man because he totally loves my George Mason Patriots), but I will promise to give the story of Scott getting his Roy McAvoy on my best swing.