I had a reporter call me afterward and ask, "Did you script that?" [Laughs] I said, "Yeah, I could not sleep on Saturday night so I thought, Well, if Tiger comes to 16 and pulls an eight-iron 180 feet to the left and [his chip] breaks 90 degrees and sits on the lip for 1.8 seconds, here's what I am going to say." No, it was all instinct, and that comes from trusting yourself. I would never have said what I said in 1984. It comes from being there, at the time, 20-some years and having the confidence to find a phrase that fits. I said what I believed: "In your life, have you seen anything like that?" I had not.
What do you expect from Tiger this year?
I think he is going to win. If you are making a small wager, and I understand certain people do, why would you want anyone but him?
How much money did you get paid for Happy Gilmore? You should really pay Adam Sandler, given how often it's on TV.
It is the gift that keeps on giving. I was paid $15,000, and I get a residual. Every three months I get $45. But here is the extraordinary thing about it: It has given me a connection to young people. I could not be more serious. I did a commencement [speech] last year at Hampden-Sydney College. It was the first one I've ever done, and I never worked as hard on a public presentation in my life. It is an all-male school in Virginia that was started in 1775. This was a dignified circumstance. So I am standing in front of a sea of young men, and before I could begin, a kid two thirds of the way back hollered out, "Hey, Verne, who the hell is Happy Gilmore?" That added a certain dignity to the occasion.
You told a reporter recently that you were not particularly proud of your call ("Yes!") on Christian Laettner's famous shot to beat Kentucky in 1992. That surprises me.
I didn't feel personally the call was up to the magnitude of the moment, and I know that sounds pretentious. It was O.K. for the moment, but in my view nothing terrific about it.
At this point in the interview, I have a great desire to shout, "Onions!"
How to describe what Bill means when he uses that?
You've never used the phrase on air, but I feel like you must be dying to, just to tweak Raftery.