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Honors: Lisa Dergan

"Golf has been a huge part of my life since I was eight years old. Every Christmas or birthday, I received golf gifts. My dad bought me golf balls with rainbows on them, which I neatly displayed all along the perimeter of my bedroom. Dad was in the Navy, so I grew up playing on military courses around San Diego. I started on a nine-hole course called 32nd Street—took lessons there and played twice a week with my mom, using an old set of persimmon woods she cut down for me. My dog's name was Bogey.

"Golf wasn't cool when I was a kid, so I kept it quiet. When I was eleven, I saw Jason Crobarger playing golf with his dad. Jason was the cutest boy in my class, the first to ask me to 'go' with him. When he saw me out there I wanted to hide—I've never been so embarrassed in my life.

"In high school I drifted away from golf, gravitating toward the usual adolescent activities. I was a cheerleader for four years. Instead of being the jock, I dated one. But when I went to San Diego State, the golf bug bit me again. I was a better player than my boyfriend was, but whenever his frat buddies joined us on the course, I was "the girl.' I had to prove myself every time I teed it up.

"Hey, I'm not complaining. Looking back, that sort of treatment was the perfect preparation for the challenges I would face in the television business. Working as a reporter and anchor for FoxSports Net's national updates on weekends and in writing a golf column for FoxSports.com, I've found that television and golf both require hard work and preparation. In TV, just like on the course, it's harder for women to get respect—you always have to show that you can do the job. My colleagues at Fox tease me about all the folders filled with research that I take on the road. And of course I was furious when I heard Andy Rooney's stupid comments ripping female football reporters. I considered it an attack on women everywhere. And to think those words came from the guy my parents and I used to watch on 60 Minutes every Sunday night. Andy Rooney should know there are women in sports kicking serious butt, and I'm one of them. But I can't change all the sexism in our society. All I can do is keep working hard.

"People seem to think it was a no-brainer for me to pose for Playboy. Truth is, I turned them down for three years. I was worried that being a Playmate would hurt my career. Boy, was I wrong. The theme for my Playmate pictorial was golf, and after the magazine hit the stands my manager was absolutely inundated with calls from golf manufacturers. Playboy gave me the platform to pursue a career in sports.

"While I adore football, golf remains my number-one love. I've gotten to know Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and a lot of other marquee players. Some of my favorites are the Aussies, like Stuart—"Stuey' to me—Appleby and Robert Allenby, who are great interviews. Tiger and the rest all call me "Dergie,' a nickname Wayne and Janet Gretzky gave me. It may not sound too feminine, but I'm a sporty girl, so the name stuck.


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