- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2000

Sometime in the 1970s a veteran PGA Tour pro was asked when he was going to retire. He had a simple reply.
"I play golf and fish now. What would I do if I was retired?"
While many locals fight Beltway traffic on a daily basis in order to get to work and earn enough money to one day retire and enjoy some of life's finer things, professional golfers seem to have it all right now.
Many tour pros can be found somewhere in a boat with a graphite fishing rod in their hands as often as they are on a tee box with a graphite-shafted driver. Some players even arrange their playing schedule around courses with the best available fishing.
What is the correlation between fishing and golfers?
Tim Herron, a three-time tour winner, grew up in Minnesota, a fishing hotbed, but didn't take up the sport until he got on tour five years ago. He sees a similarity in the speed of the two sports.
"Fishing is slow paced and golf is slow paced so I think they go hand in hand," he said. "It's not physically demanding like playing basketball and you are not going to get jabbed in the ribs fishing like you are in the basketball court."
Steve Gotsche, a tour journeyman, like most golfers, is laid-back and enjoys the serenity of fishing.
"It's a way for me to get away from everything," he said. "I like the quietness. It's nice to get away from the rat race. Why does a CPA play golf? To get away from the rat race, that's why we fish."
Gotsche usually angles by himself, but is very familiar with the players on tour who appreciate the chance to fish a new body of water when they get the chance.
"I would guess that one out of four guys on tour are regular fishermen and then there are 15 crazies who do it all the time and bring rods on road with them," Gotsche said.
Gotsche puts himself in the former category. He, along with fellow pros Brad Bryant, Jason Caron and Bobby Cochran, were among a group that got a new fishing experience yesterday. The quartet, as well as several other people associated with the tour and the Kemper Open this week, competed in a fishing tournament on the Potomac River.
The competition, set up by the Kemper Open folks, had guides from Reel Bass Adventures meet a group at Leesylvania State Park near Woodbridge, Va., and take each competitor out on the river for a day of bass fishing.
Bryant, who seems to be in a dead heat with Phil Blackmar for the title of the tour's most avid angler, came out of "semi-retirement" in order to play at Kemper and fish.
The 45-year-old Bryant, whose only tour victory came at Disney in 1995, plans to play just five tour events this year. The Kemper is his first event on the year.
Bryant is financially secure and has decided to spend the next few years spending time with his family. He and his wife have two boys Jamieson, 9, and Jonathan, 7. And of course the resident of Orlando, Fla., also plans to fish.
"I tried to get into a few tournaments earlier this year, but when I didn't get in, I just went fishing," said Bryant, who got into the Kemper Open on a sponsor's exemption.
Bryant, whose shoulder problems helped him decide to cut way back on his golf schedule, caught more than 10 largemouth bass yesterday, two of which were keepers, and finished second in the competition on the Potomac. Don Parker, a club maker who travels with the tour, won the tournament with four fish weighing more than 10 pounds. Parker and Cochran tied for biggest fish, each landing a 4-pound, 2-ounce bass.
Bryant brought a pair of his own rods with him yesterday and a rather extensive tackle box and at times insisted on using his tackle rather than that of guide Andy Andrzejewski. After little success with his choices in lures, Bryant yielded to Andrzejewski's suggestions and had solid day of fishing.
Bryant, who had a smile on his face late yesterday afternoon, said his goal this week at Kemper is to make the cut. It would seem though, that regardless of what happens on Friday, he already has had a good week.

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