When I won at Riviera two weeks ago, the first thing I wanted to
do was call my wife, Cathi. Only I had left my cell phone in the
locker room. My first lesson as a Tour champion: Put your phone
in your golf bag.
After the check was presented, the speeches made, the people
thanked and the trophy kissed, what I had accomplished began to
sink in. I was now a part of the history and tradition of
Riviera, and my picture would hang in the clubhouse with the
likes of Hogan, Nelson, Snead and Watson.
I wanted to tell Cathi all about it, so I picked up my phone on
the way to the media room and made a few attempts to reach her.
Hard to believe, but the line was busy. I did get through to
Southwest Airlines, however, and change my flight from 6 p.m. to
I had been to the press tent quite a few times over the years,
and I'd always enjoyed it for two reasons: One, it meant I had
played well; and two, I got to talk, which I like to do. The
problem was that the interviews usually ended with the question,
"Why haven't you won?"
Not anymore. The interview session sped by, and I tried Cathi
again, only this time my phone didn't work. Oh, well, the line
probably would've been busy anyway.
My duties were still not done. I was asked to sign the champions'
book, and I picked a spot next to Nick Faldo's name. My last
official responsibility was to sign a couple hundred posters and
programs while my friends watched and waited with Mr. Dom
Perignon. I tried Cathi again, this time on a land line,
and--surprise!--got a busy signal.
Finally, three hours after the round, I returned to the locker
room, where my caddie, Paul (Pablo) Jungman, was waiting. His
smile was bigger than usual, and I wasn't sure if that was
because of our victory or because of the pyramid of empty beer
cans stacked next to my locker. I was smiling, too, because I
knew that in a few minutes we would be headed to the airport, and
by midnight I would be back in Scottsdale, Ariz., with Cathi and
our four-year-old twins, Conor and Sam.
As our driver pulled away from Riviera, I tried calling home one
more time. Busy, just like my first hours as a champion.
Kirk Triplett, 37, tied for seventh last week in the Tucson Open.
COLOR PHOTO: J.D. CUBAN Triplett left Riviera with his first trophy in 266 starts on Tour.