Before he could let his memorable shootout performance at the Winter Olympics sink in, Blues forward T.J. Oshie was receiving invitations to appear on the Today Show, Extra and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Shortly after, Enterprise asked him to star in a national TV commercial, the American Century Championship invited him to be a celebrity golfer in their tournament at Lake Tahoe and even the White House offered him a seat at the annual Correspondent’s Dinner.
Somewhere in there, Oshie also received a personal letter from PGA President Ted Bishop, who asked him to be his VIP guest at the PGA Championship at Valhalla GC, which gets underway today in Louisville, KY.
“I was extremely shocked that he reached out and that he was giving me the invitation,” Oshie said. “When he told me I was also invited to the dinner and would sit with (2013 PGA Champion) Jason Dufner at his table, I was like ‘holy cow!’ I don’t really turn into a super fan about anything, but I do watch these guys every weekend and this is a really cool experience for me.”
On Tuesday, Oshie went golfing with Bishop before attending the Champions dinner. He met Rory McIlroy and Keegan Bradley, then sat down for dinner with Dufner and Phil Mickelson.
“Mickelson pretty much ran the conversation at the table. He had everyone telling their golf stories and it was really good,” Oshie said. “It was really cool to see. You don’t know what their personalities are - you only see what happens on the course, so it was great to meet them. And Keegan actually told me he and bunch of the guys were watching (the Olympics). He made a point to say it was good to meet me, so that was pretty cool to have him come do that.”
As guest of NBC Sports, Bishop was in the arena in Sochi to see Oshie’s Olympic shootout performance live. He calls it one of the greatest individual efforts he’s ever seen in sports, and as the President of the PGA, that’s saying a lot.
“To be there, to see what he did under those circumstances, it ranks right up there with the all-time great sporting moments I’ve been a part of in my life,” Bishop said. “I was just really impressed by him, and the fact that he was a golfer, I decided I was going to see if he’d be interested in coming to the PGA Championship as my guest. He didn’t know me, I just sent him a letter and he accepted, so he’s here this week.”
Dufner, Tiger Woods, McIlroy and Mickelson, to name a few, are all participating in the tournament.
And just off the green on the 18th hole, Oshie and his fiancée, Lauren, will be watching.
“This is my first time ever being at a pro golf tournament, let alone meeting some of the greatest players in the world,” Oshie said. “I couldn’t pass this up.”
Oshie played varsity golf in high school. His handicap was around 2 last summer, but with the birth of his daughter, Lyla, he claims it currently sits at 5.
“When he gets done playing hockey, he’s got another sport he can go to that will challenge him mentally and physically,” Bishop said. “He’s got a bright future ahead of him in golf, and that’s one of the reasons I was happy he could come.
“I’ve been around a lot of professional athletes in the career that I’ve been in. I’ve been lucky in golf to be exposed to many, but I don’t know if I’ve run into anyone that has impressed me as much as T.J. Oshie has. He’s obviously a great player in his sport, but he’s just as great a person. The way he carries himself and his ability to speak and communicate and everything about him…you guys are lucky to have him in St. Louis.”