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Elliott Liu, on TV Once Again Print E-mail
By Jonathan Hilton   
June 13, 2008
Elliott Liu, Photo Matthew Stumps

During the 2006 U.S. Championship, the tournament’s youngest player—then 16-year-old Elliott Liu—scored a handful of precious TV minutes for chess. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWAhklNF4Ts ) Two years later, Elliott Liu is returning to the air. This Saturday, Elliott will be seen on TV during the U.S. Open—of golf! Elliott will appear on both ESPN and NBC during the final pairing, which begins at approximately 3:00 PM Pacific Time, or 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Elliott’s TV personality will undergo a drastic change from his previous airtime. Two years ago, he was discussing chess, and had an open and easygoing demeanor while talking to reporters. This time around, Elliott will be standing amongst the top golf players in the country, putting forth his utmost effort to avoid coughing, sniffling, sneezing, or otherwise distracting the pros. Playing the role of the “standard bearer”, Elliott will essentially be a highly-visible walking scoreboard.

Here is what Elliott had to say:

The legendary Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla is a short drive up the hill from my high school and about a 20 minute drive from my house. When it was announced that the 2008 U.S. Open would be held here in San Diego, I was obviously quite excited. I had gone to other golf tournaments held at Torrey Pines in previous years, such as the Buick Invitational, but of course nothing is like “America’s Championship!” 

It just so happens that I have good connections, and through knowing some of the head organizers of the U.S. Open, they gave me this unbelievable opportunity to literally play the U.S. Open with the players—without taking any hideous swings or shots of course.

So far the experience has been everything I could have asked for. I have worked three rounds already: two practice rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday and the opening round on Thursday.  I have had the privilege of walking and talking with the likes of Charles Howell III, Rory Sabbatini, Chad Campbell, and Rodney Pampling along with many other famous pros.

Being a “Standard Bearer”, a.k.a. “walking scoreboard” kid has been a lot more enjoyable than I originally thought. Carrying a twenty pound metal (not plastic as many people think!) sign around the longest course in U.S. Open history for three consecutive days in the baking sun for five hours at a time does not sound like the most appealing of jobs. However, this arduous manual labor of a Standard Bearer is offset by a number of things: you get to have a good workout, to meet the players, and to have an important role in the tournament. I’ve occasionally even been asked for autographs! Plus, it is enjoyable to be able to hear the conversations between the players and the caddies.

There is, however, one more thing I’d like to mention, and it is quite special. This Saturday, June 14, I have the honor of being selected to be the Standard Bearer for the final pairing! This means that I will be paired with the two leaders after the cut is made on Friday.  Will it be Tiger Woods? Phil Mickelson, the local fan favorite?  Major contenders Ernie Els or Vijay Singh?It remains to be seen! Tee time 3:00 PM Pacific Time (subject to change) on NBC.

So, what can I say about this whole whirlwind? Bottom line, it has really made me appreciate golf more. I’ve always been a major sports guy—football, basketball, baseball, soccer, etc. I’ve also always enjoyed watching the final rounds of golf tournaments from time to time. But this immersion into the game itself has really illustrated just how much skill these guys really have. Their precision is incredible! Until my next big gig, hope you tune in to watch!

--Elliott Liu

Be sure to tune in and look for Elliott as he makes chess proud!