You see his name often in the paper. And usually, there is just a number after it, like 68 or 69. If you follow golf, you’d have asked yourself, How in the world does the same guy keep winning all those events?
That guy is Skip Berkmeyer. He is to local golf what Tiger Woods was once to professional golf. After recently capturing the Missouri Golf Association Stroke Play Championship, Berkmeyer now has 36 titles. And at age 39, he is not getting older, he's getting better. At Meadowbrook, he played 36 holes on a sweltering final day, and shot 70-71 for a five-shot win.
Berkmeyer’s resume is thicker than Fetuccine Alfredo: Five Metropolitan Match Play wins, four district titles, three State Amateur victories and one Metropolitan Open. He has has played 37 USGA events and 10 U. S. Amateurs.
Berkmeyer was born to win. His mother, Barbara, has won the State Amateur five times. His wife, Jamie, won it twice. Berkmeyer was not a phenom young because he played too many sports, but he was good enough to be an All-Stater at Chaminade and an NAIA All-American at St. Ambrose College. As the co-owner of All-Star Trophy in Ballwin with his father, Rick, he is allowed to get out and practice and play.
If he would have just played golf as a kid, who knows? He could be on tour. Instead, he is one of our town’s greatest amateur players ever. We talked after his most recent win:
The single-most memorable shot of your career?
The best memory was the 1999 Missouri State Amateur. I grew up dreaming to be like Bliss and Holtgrieve. I hit a 10-footer straight up hill to finish.
How do you handle pressure?
My mom gave me the greatest tip. She said everybody gets nervous. It's how you handle it. If it's hard for me, it's hard for the other golfer. Just go through the routine and do the best you can. In golf, you lose way more than you win. You have to remember those good times when there is the most pressure.
Are you better now at age 39, as opposed to age 29?
Yes, I am better now in most facets of the game. The experience helps. I just know more about the game.
How close have you been to turning pro?
Never, never brought it to the conversation. It was not in my cards. I wasn't that good when I was younger.
How long do you want to do this for?
My role is different now. I really enjoy playing against the younger players. I want to help the next generation of young players. I just feel that this is what I am supposed to be doing.
Are you surprised at what has happened to your career at all?
I am not surprised. I am mindful of what happened, but you are only as good as your last round. I have goals left. I want to win the U.S. Mid Amateur. I want to play in the Walker Cup.
1. Faraci's has recently combined my two greatest loves: Their meatballs are now on their pizzas. I had to smoke a cigarette afterwards.
2. Sometimes, I think Twitter is either too nasty or too stupid. I really don't care what an athlete or actor had for lunch, do you?
3. The most important person in the Rams organization right now is offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. He has the first pick in the draft at QB, an expensive offensive line and a bunch of really fast guys to catch the ball. It's up to him now to make this creative, fun and successful.
4. Yadier Molina is the consensus MVP of the first half. Don't be surprised, though, if the MVP for the season isn't Allen Craig. I am not sure if Albert in his prime was a better hitter with runners in scoring position.
5. I think if you are going to spend almost $5 bucks for a cup of coffee at Starbucks and it's something really feminine like Peppermint Mocha, the least they can do is whisper your name—instead of yelling it out loud for the entire store to know that is you ordering the froufrou drink.