The Normally Sedentary Media Challenged to Stand, Walk
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Championship

When I checked in at the media center on Monday morning, the second order of business — after I was given the always nifty ID badge (and an armband this week!) — the nice lady gave me a pedometer. Each media member gets one to wear and it tracks the number of steps you take (or don’t). At the end of each day before 8PM, you fill out a form with the front desk to record your daily total. There is a daily prize given to the least lazy and most active person as well as cumulative prizes to those who dared to trek across the grueling artificial dunes, the infinite bunkers and masses of fescue at Whistling Straits.

Yeah, honestly! I got really excited when I was told about this portion of the program. And of course, I let out a quiet snicker, just thinking about those who only get up to walk to the dining room for the buffet and then back to their seat in the media room. Also, I couldn’t help but wonder if the PGA was implying we needed the exercise. Naw!

I was also fired up because it reminded me of one of my fondest moments on the Yale team. It’s probably not funny unless you know the characters, but on a road trip during my sophomore year, we got into this discussion over how much exercise you actually get when you walk in a round of golf. “You get more than you think. You walk at least 5 miles,” I said fervently. “I remember reading something like you burn 1,000 calories just playing golf in a cart!”

So, my good friend, who is very cerebral, rational and unintentionally (and ironically intentionally) hilarious, bought a pedometer the next day. She wore it during our next tournament, which I believe was at James Madison University in Virgina. After the first round, she recorded something like 6.5 miles and thousands of calories burned. She was happily surprised. Anyway, it was one of those you-had-to-be-there moments.

This “Let’s Move On Course!” program is supposed to promote the healthy and fit shape of golfers. Interestingly enough, “Let’s Move” is an initiative started by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to “raise a happier and healthier generation of kids.” On the PGA of America website, it says the goal is to solve childhood obesity.

Does this mean the PGA is calling the media a bunch of fat slobs? We’re no longer children, but it’s never too late to get rid of those flabby arms or that beer-belly! Okay, we get the message loud and clear.

Kids attending the PGA Championship will also be given free pedometers to “promote the health and fitness benefits, especially for junior golfers.”

Okay, now the implication is that golfers are pudgy and need to get in better shape. Well, duh. Let’s save the young ones before it’s too late!

There were only a few people in the media room today, but the chatter was already over the pedometers. “Oh, I wonder who’s to come in last?” one colleague mused. “What’s the over/under an esteemed luminary walks a total of 300 steps for the week? How many steps is it from his seat to go outside for a smoke?”

“What about Joe*? Oh, actually, he walks back and forth a lot from the TV lot to the media center,” another said in all seriousness.

“Oh, how about Lou*? No, it wouldn’t even be fair (because he doesn’t move.)”

“Okay, well, Mo*? He walks to the interview area at least.”

So that was some of what was overheard just between, like, the five people who were actually there. I can’t wait until tomorrow when most others show up. Seriously, game on!

Oh, some folks should be reminded the steps you take while you’re walking (playing) another golf course don’t count. No names, of course.

I think I’m going to start a pool to guess the winner and loser. Who’s in? I’m sitting in Row C, Seat 5 — stop by to sign up. Note that when picking the loser, those who are pushing walkers and are more well-known than 99% of the golfers are exempt. My money is on Bloomberg’s Mike Buteau to win.

Oh, I recorded 7,917 paces on Monday. I plan on doubling that figure on Tuesday.