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Headline: Getting to Know Mike Whitmer (again)!; Whitmer Takes Over as Global Golf Post's New England Columnist for 2017 Season
For Immediate Release: May 8, 2017
Mike Whitmer makes a return to Bay State golf as New England columnist for Global Golf Post..
Norton, MA — There is a new but very familiar face who will be providing exclusive coverage of Bay State golf this summer.
Mike Whitmer, the former golf writer from the Boston Globe, has taken on the role of regular columnist for Global Golf Post New England.
His first article appeared in the April 17th edition - click here to read that story - and his contributions will be featured each month through October.
Whitmer currently serves as the director of external communications for Travelers Championship - Connecticut’s annual PGA TOUR golf tournament – and will provide unique insight into Bay State golf through his work with Global Golf Post.
Whitmer takes over for Mike Cullity, who was the New England columnist since 2014. Cullity has since
assumed a new role, that of The Post’s executive editor.
The MGA had a chance to sit down with Whitmer to talk about his new role with The Post and his thoughts on what lays ahead for Bay State golf
How did you initially get involved with golf and what was it about the sport that ultimately led you to build your career around the sport?
I grew up in a golf family, with my parents and three younger brothers all playing. I played in high school, tried out for the team but didn’t make it in college at Miami (Ohio), then played as much as I could when I started my career as a young sportswriter. I enjoyed the history of the game, how peaceful it was, how it got you outside and took you to great places. It’s what I still love about golf.
Can you talk about the role you had at the Boston Globe in regards to golf and some of the responsibilities that the position entailed?
I was lucky enough to cover golf for the Globe from 2009 until I left in June 2016. My last assignment, by choice, was the U.S. Open at Oakmont, won by Dustin Johnson. My job was to cover a handful of professional tournaments, primarily on the PGA Tour, as well as local events and local stories we found interesting.
How did your experience working for the Boston Globe influence your career and your interest in the local golf scene?
I knew that New England was a great area for golf, and being the golf writer at the Globe gave me an opportunity to meet and cover some of the best players in Massachusetts.
You have covered a lot of golf here in the Bay State over the span of your career. What has been that one or two of the most memorable events that you have covered here in the Massachusetts and why were those so memorable?
Tournaments come to mind, from the Massachusetts Amateur and Women’s Amateur to the Mass Open and Deutsche Bank Championship. But a local story that I’ll never forget was when Jim Furyk went into Joe & Leigh’s in Easton after a poor round at TPC Boston, bought a used putter for $39, and used it later the same month to win the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title, a day in which he earned more than $11 million. Not a bad return on investment.
You have covered the sport from a period where it was mostly print news to a period where most of the coverage has become digital. How has the industry changed with the times and how has that affected the way that golf is covered?
It’s not just golf coverage that has changed, the whole industry has been forced to adjust and adapt, becoming more of a web-focused, immediate operation. If something newsworthy happens – I saw this much more when I covered the Patriots for the Globe, which I did from 2011-15 – fans want to read about it right away. We had to give it to them. The days of only writing a game story that would appear in the next day’s paper are long gone. The news cycle now never sleeps.
Can you talk about how you arrived at Travelers, what your new position at Travelers entails and what do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
We moved from Milton to West Hartford, Conn., in late 2012 because my wife accepted a job at ESPN. So for more than three years I made the frequent drive – up 84, over the Pike, down 495, up Route 1 – to Gillette Stadium to cover the Patriots during football season. The older our kids got and the more involved in activities they became, the more my work travel prevented me from attending games or school concerts. I loved working for the Globe, but I wanted to be home with my family more, so I took a job in the corporate communications department at Travelers. Now, instead of driving 2 hours each way to and from the stadium, my commute is 6 miles. I’m home every night, and home every weekend. Public relations is something I never thought I’d be working in, but I got to know a number of my current Travelers colleagues from covering the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. Plus, I really enjoy the work. I hope I can reinvent myself and have a nice, long career here.
Will it be different for you working for an organization such as Travelers and covering it from a PR standpoint instead of covering golf from a media standpoint? If so, how do you plan to address those changes and what adjustments will you have to make?
I was always on the receiving end of media pitches, so it’s very different being on the other side and trying to convince a reporter to do a story on an insurance topic or interview one of our industry experts. Hopefully my experience as a journalist will help myself and my new colleagues, since we often deal with the media and need them to tell stories that are important to Travelers.
Can you talk about the decision to join Global Golf Post? What is it about GGP that made you decide to head back to covering local golf?
I’ve known about Global Golf Post since it launched, and have had a number of peers I’ve worked with over the years write for and contribute to the publication. The talent roster was impossible to ignore; writers should want to read great writers, and GGP has had those from the beginning. If you love golf, it quickly became a must-read. Plus, having a chance to write about golf in New England for GGP provides me the opportunity to connect with a number of friends I got to know during my time at the Globe. I’m thankful for that.
Year after year, we see large numbers of Massachusetts amateur players competing in national tournaments and we have seen many USGA and PGA Championships held right here in the Bay State. What is it about this state and its golf that continues to foster these top players and tournaments?
I think the forced time off due to our winter weather helps fuel the fire in Massachusetts golfers. They appreciate the opportunity to play and compete, and work hard during the golf season to play at a high level. We’re also fortunate to have a number of fantastic venues that golf’s leading organizations are attracted to, giving local fans a front-row seat to some of the best tournaments and players in golf.
If there was one thing about golf coverage that you would want changed, what would it be and would there be an approach for you to take in order to see that change through?
I wish the PGA Tour would be more transparent when it comes to disciplinary issues. They don’t happen often (at least we don’t think they do), but not providing information does a disservice to the fans.
Special thanks to Mike Whitmer for taking part in this FAQ... and we're looking forward to a great golf season ahead! For more information about Global Golf Post New England. click here.