25 September 2011
Michael Bamberger, a senior writer @ Sports Illustrated has just published his reflections on Mike Mills and his (in)famous obsession with golf. Well, one thing is for sure: now that R.E.M. has disbanded, Mike will have all the time in the world to indulge his passion for golf. Here are just a few excerpts from the article; read the entire thing here.
“Bertis and Mike have known Jim (Bones) Mackay and Joe LaCava for years and, by extension, have a particular rooting interest in Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples, and also Davis Love. In 2002, when the British Open was at Muirfield , Phil and Bones and Bertis snuck away during one of the practice rounds and played the Old Course. A nightmare for Bertis is when Davis and Phil and Fred have Thursday-Friday tee times at Augusta that are scattered all over the tee sheet. He somehow manages to see everybody and everything he needs to see. He walks very fast.”
“Bill Berry, the band’s longtime drummer, is also a golf head, but I’ve never seen Michael Stipe or Peter Buck, the band’s lead guitarist, on a golf course. (Buck is deeply attached to baseball, as is Mills, who is often at Turner Field.) When R.E.M. was coming up in Athens, another band, Love Tractor, was starting to get noticed, too. Love Tractor had a unique, excellent sound, surfy and jazzy and folky, but R.E.M. ended up in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I asked Mills once why R.E.M. made it big and Love Tractor did not. He said, “Because we had Michael Stipe. When we first started playing together, we knew Michael had a great voice. But when we started playing in front of audiences, we saw the people responded to Michael. He had charisma.” When Rory McIlroy came to play in the U.S. for first time as a pro, in 2009, Geoff Ogilvy said something very similar about him. Ogilvy’s point was that McIlory had a certain extra something — a golfing charisma — that would help him win over crowds, intimidate opponents, fuel his confidence, give him half a shot or more on some Sunday afternoon when nobody can breathe.”