As a lifetime collector starting at age seven, my passion for the past two decades has been collecting autographed golf balls from best-loved golfers, famous Hollywood entertainers, notable sports stars, and U.S. presidents. I claim to have one of the largest and most diversified collections of autographed golf balls in America with over 300 inscribed balls in my bag.
Luckily, I've had a pretty easy time in getting celebrities from all walks of life to sign golf balls, but I have run into roadblocks where I had to pull a few tricks out of my sleeves to change the minds of some pro golfers who refused my request to sign a ball. In Chapter 14 (Tricks of the Trade) of my hobby memoir, Hooked on Autographs, I cite several examples of being turned down for autographs and how I was able to overcome the resistance by being persistent. Here's a classic case in point.
Padraig Harrington, Ireland's best golfer, was playing a practice round in the WGT American Express World Golf Championship at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco in 2005. As Padraig approached the fifth tee box, I politely asked the Dubliner to sign a golf ball. He flately told me in front of about fifteen spectators that he didn't sign golf balls and kept walking toward the tee box. Reacting quickly, I said, "What if my grandparents came from Ireland?" The twenty-four-year-old Irishman turned around, shot me a glance, and said, "Where in Ireland?" I said, "The city of Cork." Padraig responded, "That's a beautiful city." Immediately, Padraig started walking toward me where I stood behind the roped-off area. I had a hunch he was going to sign my ball. As I handed Paddy the ball and black Sharpie, he took a Sharpie out of his left pocket and put a beautiful signature on the Titleist ball in green ink, the symbolic color of Ireland.
I got Padraig's signed ball by thinking fast, being persistent, and using my heritage connections.
Hooked on Autographs is available on Amazon.com for $13.95 plus shipping. Or, you can buy my book, comprised of 16 chapters, 154 pages, directly from me for $16.41 (includes shipping) at firstname.lastname@example.org. I personalize all copies. Hooked on Autographs makes for a great gift for golfers and even non-golfers who will delight in reading my favorite tales in chasing down celebrities for their John Hancocks. Best of all, the net proceeds of my book are being donated to our returning severely wounded soldiers recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. I hope you'll join me in supporting our wounded troops by buying my original and widely fun book, Hooked on Autographs. Thank you. Joe Galiardi, collector and author.