Virgen's View: Elkington doesn't disappoint

Maybe it was because Hank Adler goofed on the number of national championships the University of Houston men's golf team won while Steve Elkington played for the Cougars.

Or maybe it was simply because Adler opened his interview with Elkington with an unoriginal: "G'day mate."

Whatever it was, Elkington definitely had a response. The 10-time PGA Tour winner turned out to be part roaster, part joker and fully candid during the annual Toshiba Classic Breakfast with a Champion on Tuesday morning at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa.

Adler, bless his heart, is known as the Toshiba Classic chairman emeritus. By the end of the program, he could've been known as Elkington's punching bag.

Elkington told Adler, who was dressed in a pink shirt, that he looked like a Tylenol pill.

When the two discussed the topic of the PGA ridding Q-School, Elkington had to explain the new tours and playfully suggested he should also ask the questions in addition to giving the answers.

Adler hung in there and did ask some great questions. The program was entertaining. It was also meaningful, since the money raised benefits the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center.

Before introducing Elkington, Adler reminded everyone the primary goal of the tournament is to raise money and have fun doing it. Tuesday was fun.

Later Adler mistakenly said Elkington won two national championships at Houston. It was three.

"It's important that you say three," Elkington said somewhat jokingly.

Houston is dear to Elkington's heart. It's where he said he honed his game. And it's also where he met his wife.

Elkington, known as Elk, enjoyed the college life at Houston, where he was roommates with Billy Ray Brown. Elk fondly recalled spending time in the dorm area with key members of the Phi Slamma Jamma, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwan. Track star Carl Lewis also hung around.

Elk and his golf teammates loved to show off their national championship rings, he said.

Elk shared a story about Lewis and how the Olympian would sometimes dip himself in glitter and run around the dorm room wearing only a robe, and the glitter of course.

"We were scared of Carl Lewis," Elk said in jest.

Elkington was at the University of Houston from 1982 to 1985. Before that, Elk likes to point out, Coach Dave Williams called him once a week, telling him how great it would be to play for the Cougars.

Adler also asked Elkington about his background. Elk was born in Australia and raised in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

And, of course, the topic of Elkington's career highlight came up: his 1995 PGA Championship victory at Riviera, where he beat Colin Montgomerie in a playoff.

Now, at age 50, Elkington is a rookie on the Champions Tour and will make his Toshiba Classic debut this weekend at Newport Beach Country Club.

He said he took last year off to focus on his website,, a social media-type destination for all things golf.

Elkington also revealed he stays busy with his strong opinions on Twitter with the handle @elkpga.

As Adler read a long list of Elk's accomplishments during his introduction, drawings flashed on the screen, showing Elk's work as a caricaturist.

Elk was refreshingly blunt with his answers.

On Rory McIlroy, he called him "a basket case" for pulling out of the Honda Classic because of a tooth ache and for switching his gear to Nike for the money.

It's no wonder Elk has been a frequent guest of Jim Rome's.

Adler asked if Elk would give the Toshiba Classic a plug.

Elk said he had already talked about his gig at the Breakfast with a Champion. He might have to tell Rome about how it turned out to be entertaining.

Twitter: SteveVirgen

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