Yogi Berra a switch-hitter in golf

IAN HUTCHINSON, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

When Yogi Berra found himself in a jackpot on the golf course in the early part of his legendary career behind the plate, he uttered no Yogi-ism, but instead became a switch-hitter in the grand tradition of the game he knows best.

Growing up in St. Louis, the three-time AL MVP knew only baseball and it wasn't until early in his major-league career with the New York Yankees that he began swinging on the golf course.

"I used to play left-handed, but I switched to right-handed because I sliced the ball left-handed too much.Right-handed, I hit it pretty straight -- not far, but pretty straight," said Berra, 84.

"At spring training, we never were allowed to play golf during the season. We got a chance when we got an off-day, maybe, sometimes to go out and play golf. I did most of my golf when the season was over," he added.

"I played with Joe Medwick. I played with Stan Musial. They used to belong to a club called Sunset. I never was a member. I was just starting to learn how to play, did a lot of golfing. I kind of enjoyed it," he said.

About two years into the game, he was forced to prove one of his famous Yogi-isms, the famous "It ain't over till it's over," line.

"I was behind a tree at my golf course and I couldn't hit it left-handed, so I borrowed a club from the guy I was playing with and hit it right-handed and I hit it good. I said: 'I'm going to start playing right-handed,' " said Berra, who still putts as a lefty.

Over the years, the 10-time World Series champ got his handicap down to a 10 and played with pros and celebrities, including the namesake of this week's PGA Tour stop, the Bob Hope Classic, where Berra will serve as a tournament ambassador in La Quinta, Calif.

"I've been going there for 15 years and I love it. It gets you out of the cold weather, you meet a lot of nice people. Bob was a tremendous man. He did a lot for charity. That's what I like," he said.

Motivated more now

Another lefty, Mike Weir, makes his 2010 debut this week at the Hope. Weir turns 40 in May, but says he's more motivated than ever.

"I've been able to do what I always do, usually in the off-season and that's train very hard in order to keep up with some of these young guys," said Weir, who added that he visited coach Mike Wilson frequently during the off-season to work on his game in Palm Springs.

"In my mind, I really just feel like I can improve on so many things," the 2003 Masters champ said. "I really honestly believe that my best golf's ahead of me, so that keeps me very motivated.

"I think the thought of being an Olympian five, six years down the road, that's very motivating. Trying to win more majors, that's the other thing. There are a lot of things to look forward to in the future," he said.

"I'm going to be 40 this year. I have a tough time remembering what I felt like at 30, but I probably didn't feel any better than what I do now," Weir said.

"I feel fitter and better and ready to go, especially better than three, four years ago when I was having some problems with my back and my neck."

One rumour has Weir running one of the final legs of the Olympic torch relay. While he is planning to be in Vancouver as a spectator, he says nobody has approached him about the relay.


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