The Day I Was Tom Byrum

I've never told this story.  I was always too embarrased by what I did.

Tom Byrum is a professional golfer.  He is from Onida, South Dakota.  He won the Kemper Open in 1989 and finished in the top 10 at the PGA Championship in 1997.  He is nationally known and certainly well-known in South Dakota.  I have been told we look a bit alike.  

While Byrum was in his heyday, I was the weeknight sports anchor at KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, SD.

Somewhere around 1995, Byrum is back home to give a clinic at Hillsview GC in Pierre... about 30 miles from Byrums home town.  I grab a camera... stop in Mitchell to pick up my old boss, Merv Bouchie, who is a family friend of the Byrums... and we head for the river.

I shoot an interview with Byrum and some video of him doing his thing at the clinic and before we leave I stop in the clubhouse to grab a drink for the road.  A woman sees me and says, "Thank you for coming!  Do you have time to sign a few things for our ladies league?"  I am young and very arrogant and a bigshot local television personality and don't think anything of it.  I have signed a few autographs before... mostly for 9-year-olds who think I am the TV weather guy.. 

Anyway, I grab a Sharpie and start to sign a few hats.  The woman is talking to me about my mother and how well she is playing in their league at Hillsview.  But my mother lives in Huron and doesn't play golf.  And it finally occurs to me:  She thinks I am Tom Byrum.  I freeze for a moment but my ego will not allow me to stop and come clean.  I keep signing stuff but start to make the N in Nieman look like a B for Byrum.  I know this is despicable behavior but I still don't fess up. I finish and say thanks and goodbye and slink out and leave her with a pile of fraudulently signed items.

I don't know when she figured it out... probably when the actual Byrum walked in shortly thereafter.  To this woman and to Tom Byrum... I now apologize.  But I was flattered and I would probably do it again.