Home » News » Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Abby Witt on Covering the PGA

Liberty + Leadership Podcast – Abby Witt on Covering the PGA

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Abby Witt ’15 is a content producer and host for the PGA TOUR’s “The Cut” on NBC Sports’ Golf Channel.

In this week’s Liberty and Leadership Podcast, Roger and Abby discuss her path from anchoring Asbury University’s television news station to working the midnight shift as an associate producer at local NBC network affiliate WLEX-TV in Kentucky to covering golf’s Olympic debut at the 2016 Games. Today, she interviews PGA’s biggest hitters as host of the “The Cut.” Abby participated in TFAS’s Journalism and Communications class of 2015 and is a graduate of Asbury University, where she was honored as one of Asbury’s 30 Under 30 in 2021.

The Liberty + Leadership Podcast is hosted by TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 and produced by kglobal. If you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at podcast@TFAS.org.

 


Episode Transcript

The transcript below is lightly edited for clarity.

Roger Ream [00:00:00] Hello and welcome. I’m Roger Ream and this is the Liberty and Leadership podcast, a conversation with TFAS alumni who are making a real impact in politics, public policy, government, business, philanthropy, law, and the media. Today, I’m joined by one of TFAS’s more recent alums, Abby Witt, who attended our program in 2015, the Journalism and Communications Program Track here at TFAS. Abby is a content producer and host for PGA Tour: The CUT. Abby provides commentary and conducts interviews with professional athletes and has traveled extensively to cover all things golf. Abby is a graduate of Asbury University, where she got her start with the sports and news broadcasting opportunities offered by that school. She was included on Asbury’s 30 under 30 list in 2021 and is an up and coming leader in journalism and broadcasting. Abby, I’m so looking forward to speaking with you today. Thanks for joining me.

Abby Witt [00:01:08] Thank you so much for having me.

Roger Ream [00:01:10] I’d love to begin talking a little bit about your TFAS experience, but before I do that and before we get into golf, tell me a little bit about your upbringing. You grew up in Kentucky and attended the college Asbury in Kentucky. What part of Kentucky did you grow up in and what led you to Asbury?

Abby Witt [00:01:30] Yeah, so I grew up in the smallest town on planet Earth called Irvine, Kentucky, and nobody’s ever heard of it. And so I’m not going to be offended when you haven’t. So generally I say I’m from Lexington, Kentucky, born and raised there. My entire family was there, still there now. And I chose to go to Asbury University, which is about an hour and a half from where I grew up. And it’s a really small school. 1200 kids max, go there. And I didn’t even know about the school until my junior year of high school when my best friend Cassidy committed to play basketball there. So my senior year, when I was trying to figure out where to go, I always would go hang out with Cassidy on campus and she showed me around and stuff like that, but I never wanted to go to Asbury. It was like the first school I decided I didn’t want to go to, and I had a ton of schools on the table and I just could not decide. I committed to one back, like early spring and two weeks before classes started in August. I just had this epiphany almost that Asbury is where I should go. So I did everything necessary to transfer with two weeks left. And it worked out pretty well because the dean of the media communications department at Asbury does some work on the side for the Olympic Broadcasting Services. And through that I was able to get an internship at the Rio Olympic Games and happened to be placed at the golf course. And that was the first time in over 100 years golf was even being played in the Olympics. Made the right connections, loved everything about it. And after I graduated from college, it wasn’t a few months too much longer after that, fortunately, the PGA Tour hired me. Here we are.

Roger Ream [00:03:16] Well you certainly have a debt of gratitude, I’m sure, to Asbury for opening up that whole world to you, not just broadcasting, but also the world of golf and a career like you have today.

Abby Witt [00:03:28] Yeah. I grew up a golfer. I grew up a golf fan. And so golf was never a sport that I was foreign to. But it’s just so crazy to see how, like, every little part of your life happens for a reason. And it just happened to be that year that golf was being reintroduced into the Olympics. And yeah, I’m so grateful for Astbury. And I will say that till I’m blue in the face for the rest of my life.

Roger Ream [00:03:54] When you were following your sophomore year, you found your way to TFAS for a summer program and internship. Tell me how you found our program and then we’ll talk about your experience in it.

Abby Witt [00:04:07] It was kind of out of nowhere. My mom happened to be at a conference, I believe it was in the fall prior or maybe even like closer to winter. And she comes home from it and she was like, Abby, I saw this like booth setup for this place in Washington, D.C. You might want to think about it for a summer internship. And the funny thing is, my brother, who’s six years older than me, he spent summers upon summers upon summers in D.C. interning, doing other things. And I always wanted to be like my brother, but I didn’t necessarily want to do what my brother went into. But I love D.C. because I’d always go visit him. And as soon as Mom came home with this, it just kind of seemed fitting to apply. And then I saw you guys have the journalism part of TFAS and it just seemed like a great fit. So I applied for it. And honestly, I will still say this that summer was one of the best summers of my life. TFAS was the most fun I had ever had.

Roger Ream [00:05:09] Well, you had an internship. Was it at Time Warner Cable, as I recall?

Abby Witt [00:05:14] Yeah, Time Warner Cable News.

Roger Ream [00:05:15] Was that a valuable internship with some good experience for you?

Abby Witt [00:05:19] It was incredible. I was the only intern that they had that summer, so the hands on experience that I was able to get was honestly unbelievable because every single day we would go up to the Capitol, we’d spend a lot of time at Georgetown’s campus. That was the summer the Pope came into town. We covered that. That was the summer there were 16 Republican candidates for president and Hillary Clinton came to the Capitol once we got to cover that. There were so many things that happened that I still look back on and I can’t believe I got to be there and be a part of it and watch it. And it’s funny, too, because some of the people that I learned from during that internship at Time Warner, I still talk to and lean on for advice like Geoff Bennett. He was one of my supervisors there and he’s with NBC News as one of their White House correspondents. And it’s just still kind of unbelievable everything that I got to experience that summer.

Roger Ream [00:06:19] And do you keep in touch with any of your classmates from that summer?

Abby Witt [00:06:24] Probably more than I ever expected to. A lot of my best friends still to this day were people that I met at TFAS. Last winter me and my friend Selene Vasquez, who she was in a totally different program that summer. We went to London for a week or so together on vacation. One of my friends in the journalism department actually works out of the same gym that I do in Jacksonville Beach. And it was funny because we just figured this out maybe three weeks ago. I walked into a class time I usually don’t go to, and we looked at each other and she was like, Did you go to TFAS? And I was like, Is her name Gretta?

Roger Ream [00:07:00] It’s a small world.

Abby Witt [00:07:02] It’s a very small world for sure. But I think I’ve kept up with my TFAS friends more than my hometown friends at this point in my life.

Roger Ream [00:07:10] Do you recall anything about your economics class or if that’s the class you took? You may have had the class with Richard Benedetto in journalism, I don’t know which one you chose.

Abby Witt [00:07:19] Yeah, I remember we went over to George Mason, I think it was maybe twice a week for classes.

Roger Ream [00:07:24] Oh, you probably had Professor Boudreaux, Don Boudreaux maybe.

Abby Witt [00:07:29] The other name sounds more familiar.

Roger Ream [00:07:30] Richard Benedetto, he was a reporter with USA Today for many years.

Abby Witt [00:07:35] Yes, that was him. But that class was a lot of fun too. I remember our entire grade ended up coming down to that final test that we had. So all I remember is being very stressed out to pass tht test.

Roger Ream [00:07:48] Well, I know Joe Starr’s the director of our program. I was with him yesterday because he celebrated a landmark birthday, but he was really, I won’t say how many years, but he was very excited that I’d be talking to you on our Liberty and Leadership podcast this morning.

Abby Witt [00:08:02] Yeah, I remember Joe, he was such a sweetheart and Kristin and everybody from that TFAS era. The amount of support that we had as students from those people was just incredible.

Roger Ream [00:08:15] Now, when you finished Asbury College, you took a path that I’ve often recommended to students along the way, is get experience in you know, outside of major market where you can get a good variety of experience. But what was that first job and what kind of work did you do there?

Abby Witt [00:08:32] So I actually ended up graduating a semester early from Asbury. It was December of 2016 and I remember when that happened, I honestly didn’t know what to do because I didn’t know about this PGA Tour opportunity yet. I knew I wanted to do on air stuff, but I didn’t necessarily want to move to a small town in North Dakota where there’s a population of 20 people to be a reporter for a news station. But a local station in Lexington, Kentucky, actually hired me as an associate producer for their morning show. So I handled all of the international and political stories that happens throughout the night. My schedule was 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. and our show went live at 5:30 in the morning. So I handled a lot of stuff that happens like in the evening and through the night to put on to the show, which a lot of that D.C. experience came into play there because I knew a lot about the political aspect of it. But anyway, so it was a grind. I’m not going to lie 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. the body is not meant to be awake. But I was grateful for the opportunity because it was a top 100 market in news. And to land a job like that right out of college and it be close to where I grew up was kind of surreal because my family was there to support me, my friends were still there and I was able to still like be involved with a lot of things that was happening at Asbury that I didn’t want to miss out on. Like, we have really big film festivals and a lot of the sports production that happens. So I still get to like learn from them too. So it’s important to me to kind of as I figured out what the right path was for me to actually be on a path because my professor in college, he always told me, God can’t move a parked car. So if you’re not trying to do something, you’re like fully pursuing something. He can’t guide you in the direction that you’re going to go. So that’s kind of the mentality I took was to just get on a path, work really hard and see where it led me. And I quickly realized that news, it wasn’t for me. I was second guessing even a career in media at that point because it wasn’t a happy subject ever. And I remember calling one of my friends I met at the Olympics who works at NBC Sports and Golf Channel, and I just asked, Am I supposed to do this or not? Because while I thought this was my path, I hate going to work every day and I don’t even like what we’re talking about right now. And they said, thank you for taking this opportunity at this news station, because I wanted you to see that that’s not the only realm of media that’s out there and news that’s out there. Like you can get into sports broadcasting and sports production in a way that doesn’t mean working at a local news station. We looked and there was this production assistant job at the PGA Tour Open. It was like a step down from what I was doing at the news station and title. But also when I did the interview and looked into the job, I was getting so much more hands on experience, doing so much more. And now October 2nd of this year marks my five-year anniversary with the PGA Tour. And my career has just grown and grown and grown from there. And it’s crazy to think that it’s been five years since then, but it’s been a ride.

Roger Ream [00:12:02] That’s an important lesson right there that, you know, you took advantage of an opportunity, even though in some sense it was a step down, at least in title, but it was taking you in the direction you wanted to go. And it’s opened up so many opportunities for you. And I think sometimes young people, you know, they’re just looking for that next position that takes them up instead of in the direction of their passion, their interests of what will lead to more opportunity in the future. So that’s outstanding that you took that leap.

Abby Witt [00:12:34] It’s all about trusting your gut at the end of the day, and regardless if you can explain it, if there’s a piece around your decision that you make, that’s the decision you need to make.

Roger Ream [00:12:43] Could you repeat again what you said a professor told you about a parked car? I missed it.

Abby Witt [00:12:48] Yeah. So Dr. Owens looked at me one day and he said, God can’t move a parked car. And this was right after I came back from the Olympics. And because I was like, Yeah, whatever job I get, it’s going to come to me like, I’m going to figure this out. He goes, You’re not going to do anything. He was like, God’s got this. But if you’re not taking a step in a direction, he can’t guide you. So I quickly changed my tune and started applying and looking at every job that I could find, just so that I could get on a path for God to one day guide me down the right one.

Roger Ream [00:13:22] Well, a lot of students who come to TFAS programs in Washington are, of course, very interested in public policy and politics. And you may have been at the time, but at least you had a clear idea growing up that sports journalism interested you. And, boy, it probably only has got more depressing being in news departments today. So thank goodness you made that shift. Talk a little bit about your Olympic experience. I mean, you were a college student. Suddenly you’re on your way to Rio to cover the Olympics. And it was so exciting. And as you said, it was the return of golf and the Olympics. And a lot of major golfers went down to compete, as I recall. So what was it like being there?

Abby Witt [00:14:04] It was incredible. I recommend everybody on planet Earth to go to an Olympic Games because the atmosphere there is unlike anything you’ll ever experience in life. I mean, there’s so much pride for your country, but there’s also so much pride for coming together as a world at the same time. But yeah, I showed up for my first day, not really knowing what my job was going to be. I just knew I was there as a liaison to do whatever I was told. They could have told me to stuff the vending machine and I would have done it with a smile on my face because I was just happy to be at the Olympics. And when I got there, I just assumed everyone there loved golf as much as I did and loved sports as much as I did. And the people working love sports, but they didn’t necessarily love golf. And what I saw whenever I was with my supervisor and I was pointing out all the players that were in their practice round, I was like, Oh, there’s Rickie Fowler, there’s Martin Kaymer, there’s Justin Rose. Like I knew all of them. And he looked at me and he was like, Do you like golf? And I was like, Yeah, don’t you like golf? And he was like, I’m here to put a sport on a TV for the world to watch, but I don’t really know much about it or these people. And I didn’t think much of that I thought was funny. And then he looks at me and he is just like, I have a different role for you now because I need somebody who actually has knowledge about the sport. So I ended up coordinating all of the players post-round interviews. There had to be somebody that knew Henrik Stenson is walking off the 18th green. He’s from Sweden, so the Swedish media is going to need him or Justin Rose is from England and they’re going to want him for that broadcast. Or Rickie Fowler is American, so he first needs to go to Steve Sands, who’s waiting with NBC Sports. So they had to just know these players that nobody else did. So because I had this knowledge, I was waiting for them on the 18th green after they came off, they went to scoring. And then I walk them through their interviews and I did that for the guys event and the women’s event. And that’s how I met the people at NBC Sports and Golf Channel that really I was able to pick their brain for two weeks and learn so much about this broadcast world that I never really dreamed that I could be a part of. And now here we are today. It’s incredible. And the funny thing, too, is, you know, I grew up being a sports fan watching the Olympics dedicated to the Olympics. And I remember when Michael Phelps had his run in Beijing, and all I wanted to do in Rio was watch Michael Phelps swim. So one night I was off and there was no golf and Michael Phelps happened to be swimming. So I got tickets, went and watched him. It was incredible. And now it’s funny how life works out. Because of my job with the PGA Tour, I’ve worked with Michael Phelps now twice, actually producing him. We actually back in January of this past year, I partnered with Loop, which is a fitness tracker, and Michael Phelps, who is a representative for them. And we did a shoot together out in Scottsdale for the Waste Management, Phenix Open. So it’s so crazy to think, just like how all of these worlds are intertwined and combining. It’s incredible.

Roger Ream [00:17:29] Yeah, well, I’m part of a swim family because two of my daughters were swimmers and being in the D.C. area, we used to do meets with the North Baltimore swim club where Michael Phelps swam. So we had a lot of meets with him in the water. It was incredible to watch up close even as a teenager and wow.

Abby Witt [00:17:50] He’s just built differently.

Roger Ream [00:17:51] Incredible swimmer. And what a Olympics he had in Beijing and in Rio and in other Olympics. So you’ve been now over five years, I think, with the PGA and the Golf Channel has been airing your work. Let’s talk a little bit about what that’s like. I’ve watched many of the reports you’ve done, whether it’s walking a golf course to find out where the best food is, the pizza on the 10th hole or something. A golfer telling you that or touring the Fort Worth stockyards, you spent a lot of time with different golfers in interesting situations. More recently, I think you were at the U.S. Open exploring the Boston accents, spectators. So what’s it like? Tell us the kind of work you do. Do you have to, you know, kind of brainstorm your own stories? Do you have a team that works to figure out what you want to feature?

Abby Witt [00:18:48] It’s definitely a team effort here at the PGA Tour. You know, we have so many incredible golfers. A lot of people know about the top 20 players in the world, Rory McIlroy and the Justin Thomas’ of the world. And while we get to do a lot of work with them, it’s really important to feature as many of our PGA Tour players as we can. And there’s a lot of them, and they all have such unique stories and they’re such unique individuals to where it’s really important for us to spend time with them away from the golf course to kind of humanize them in the way. So the stockyards show that you watch that I remember we shot that last year and that was with Ryan Palmer. He’s a guy who’s local to Fort Worth area. So when we went down for the Charles Schwab Challenge, that’s the tournament in Fort Worth, we took him to the stockyards and he actually owns a lot of the, I think it’s bulls that do the running and the running of the bulls. So it was funny to take him out there and let him see it up close. And, you know, like Maverick McNealy, he’s one of our players who loves to play hockey. And we took him out in Vegas where he’s from last year to play hockey. Yeah, I love storytelling and I love learning about people and things about them that you would never know. So if we have the chance to take a player like Maverick who could be this little kids idol, and if he looks at Maverick as this top golfer who is just untouchable, but maybe this little kid that’s watching Maverick also likes to play hockey. So if he sees this golfer doing something that this kid can relate to, it kind of humanizes him in a way, and it brings everybody on this equal playing field. So it’s really fun for me to kind of like see guys, see these professional athletes who have always been put on a pedestal outside of their element and showing off like the fact that they are just really normal guys who have a family and friends and things that they like to do outside of golf too. And it’s been the most fun ever. And the stuff that we did at the U.S. Open, I was actually working with NBC Sports that week, and it was really fun to just kind of experience the tournament from a fan’s perspective. You know, getting to know all the local I think it’s Bostonians, if I remember correctly, and Johnny Damon came out famous baseball player to do some stuff. And it’s crazy to see how golf just brings so many people together. It’s very universal. But yeah, it’s been a lot of fun out here, that’s for sure.

Roger Ream [00:21:24] I confess to not playing the game anymore. I played a little bit as a teenager and in my twenties, but I have had the opportunity to attend a number of professional golf tournaments, including one at Liberty in New Jersey a few years ago, where thanks to one of the sponsors, I was able to like walk with the golfers inside the lot. That was fun.

Abby Witt [00:21:48] Yeah. Which golfers did you walk with?

Roger Ream [00:21:52] Rory Sabbatini was one and it was just neat to be inside there. I talked mostly to the caddies and learned about it. One was local. He worked at a nearby country club and I think one traveled with the golfer. But it’s an incredible game. And the amount of focus you do. You have, maybe you can’t even say. But do you have favorites like maybe when you were growing up, who are your, you know, favorites on the tour?

Abby Witt [00:22:23] It’s funny because that’s the first question everyone always asks me. And at this point I’ve gotten to know so many of our players, but on a different level than seeing them as an athlete. I just see them as a person and it’s like a mother picking their favorite kid. At this point, I don’t think I could pick. But when I was little, and I guess not really a little bit before I got into the game, when Rory McIlroy became like a very good golfer and well-known, the more I watched him, the more I loved watching him play. And I remember in 20, whenever he won the FedEx Cup before I graduated, I want to say it was 2015. I could be getting that wrong right now it might be 2016. But I remember just being so glued into that television set, cheering for him every step of the way. And now, like I’m doing all of his interviews at the tour championship, which is where they play for the FedEx Cup. Like I was there a couple of weeks ago and we sat down yet again for our yearly interview there. And he won the FedEx Cup a couple of years ago as well, before this past year. And I remember being the one taking him through his media. And I’m just like, I remember sitting in my dorm room at Asbury watching him fight for that title, and I was like cheering for him the whole way. And now I get to work alongside of him. So it’s very full circle for sure.

Roger Ream [00:23:50] Well, when he won the FedEx Cup a few weeks ago, that was just remarkable comeback on the fourth day. Yeah, I think a lot of the golf world was pulling for him to win.

Abby Witt [00:24:01] When Rory wins, the whole world of golf wins. I always say that.

Roger Ream [00:24:07] Yeah. Well, we were talking just before we started recording this morning about I said, you know, do you have a lull now before golf resumes next year? But you said, no, there’s really no rest except for about a week and a half. But you’ll continue to travel extensively in this job, I take it. Do you do any of the international travel?

Abby Witt [00:24:32] I do. Yeah. So every December we have an event in the Bahamas. So that’s about as international as I’ve gone. Personally, I usually stay stateside, but yeah, there’s no rest really. Like, I just got back from Atlanta about a week and a half ago for the tour championship and I leave. I haven’t even really booked my flight yet. I need to do that today, actually. But I leave either Sunday or Monday, so in less than a week for a shoot with Tony Finau, who’s one of our players, Tony is also one of my favorite players. I adore that man and I love working with him and then I’ll come back from his shoot. And about a week and a half after that, I’ll go to the President’s Cup, which is at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, which Quail Hollow is one of my favorite courses, as well as the one that you were walking with Rory Sabbatini.

Roger Ream [00:25:21] Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Abby Witt [00:25:21] Liberty National it’s incredible and after that I think it’s a week and a half after that I’ll be in Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. So yeah, there’s no stopping in golf.

Roger Ream [00:25:36] You know, speaking of the Shriners Hospital event, the PGA Tour raises an incredible amount of money for charity throughout the country. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Abby Witt [00:25:51] Yeah. It’s incredible to see how passionate not just the PGA Tour, but these players are about giving back to everyone, not even if it’s related to the game of golf, but giving back to the greater good. And just about every PGA Tour player has a foundation that they dedicate money to, whether that be for, you know, diabetes or like Marc Leishman, he has a foundation for a charity that is very near and dear to his family’s heart. And it’s all of these players genuinely care about making a difference. And it’s inspiring as somebody who works alongside of them, to always be forward thinking like that and give back. And we’ll always have people come out to events, whether it’s Make-A-Wish children that we get to work with or anything of the sort, to just experience golf and these guys have such pure hearts. And it’s so refreshing to see that as the statue, the stage that they’re on in life, to see that and to see them always, you know, giving back for the greater good. It’s special to be around. And I always say that we’re the luckiest people in the world to get to work around these athletes. We have the best athletes in sports. And I’ll stand by that statement forever.

Roger Ream [00:27:13] Yeah, I had the opportunity about a decade ago to attend an induction into the Texas Historical Society of Lee Trevino.

Abby Witt [00:27:25] Wow, you got to go?

Roger Ream [00:27:26] Yeah, to hear his story of growing up and making it in the golf world was incredible. So many of these golfers I saw you interviewed recently, someone who’s probably one of the younger golfers on the tour, Ji-yun Kim.

Abby Witt [00:27:46] Also known as Tom.

Roger Ream [00:27:49] And I think shortly after you interviewed him, he won his first PGA event right? At the Wyndham.

Abby Witt [00:27:55] Oh, yeah, it was insane. Whenever I interviewed Tom, it was at the U.S. Open in Brookline. And I mean, he really hadn’t played out here at all. Nobody really knew who he was. And it just so happened, his agent, Ben, I work really closely with and I had just shot with one of Ben’s players, Keegan Bradley, that week and actually a couple weeks before that as well. And I was just talking to Ben and he was telling me about Tom. And Tom’s story’s incredible. He’s still a teenager and he’s won internationally since he was 16 years old. And I was just like, we have to do something with him. And that was the week I was with NBC Sports. So I pitched the idea to NBC. I was like, We got to just do something with him. We got to tell a story, we got to do it. And they’re like, Yeah, just do whatever. We trust you. And then now look at his story. I mean, he’s now a PGA Tour member. He’s already won on the PGA Tour without even having membership. And he’s not even 20 years old. It’s so fun to watch these guys grow from, you know, maybe the first shoot that we do together to even less than a month later to see what they’ve done. But yeah, Tom is a special talent. Special for sure.

Roger Ream [00:29:10] Is the game of golf, of course, is extremely international. Is there a part of the world now where you see it particularly flourishing and producing outstanding golfers for the PGA Tour? Is that in Asia or is it just everywhere?

Abby Witt [00:29:26] I honestly think everywhere because like you said, it is very international and we have so many international players who are just excelling in everything that they do. And from our South American players, our Australian players, our European players, our players from South Africa, like our Canadian players, oh my gosh, our Canadian players are doing incredible right now. And you can see how proud that those countries are of those players like Norway, for example, they have Viktor Hovland and Norwegian golfers are not common out here. And Victor has done so much for that country and any time there’s Norwegian fans out there, it’s like they are the epitome of the biggest fan they have. They’re dressed in the flag. So you can see just every country is so proud of their golfers. And it’s even at events you’ll notice more and more international fans show up.

Roger Ream [00:30:26] How about Kentucky? Is there a lot of golf in Kentucky? Do you have anyone on the tour from your home state?

Abby Witt [00:30:32] Oh, yeah. Justin Thomas he’s probably Kentucky’s pride and joy, and it’s so fun. And it’s really fun to feature Justin, especially because Justin is a great person, I will say, and I’ve loved all that I’ve gotten to do working with him and his team at Excel. They’re awesome as well. And you know, it’s just as a Kentucky in myself to see somebody like Justin who carries himself out there the way that he does. I’m a big fan of Kentucky, and I think Kentucky is one of my favorite topics to talk about aside from golf. So to know that there’s a representative like Justin out there on behalf of Kentucky, it makes me proud.

Roger Ream [00:31:14] Has Kentucky hosted any PGA events in recent years?

Abby Witt [00:31:17] Yeah. So every year they host the Barbasol Championship down in Nicholasville, Kentucky, which is hilarious because that’s about 10 minutes from where I went to college.

Roger Ream [00:31:25] Wonderful.

Abby Witt [00:31:26] So I love to go to that event.

Roger Ream [00:31:29] Well, it’s been a real pleasure talking with you, Abby. Congratulations on your success. Let me ask a parting question I like to ask. And that is, you know, if you’d offer some advice to students who are attending our program today, you know, five or now, I guess seven or eight years behind you. I found this summer in particular, the students were very serious minded. Their focus was on their careers and trying to figure out what they wanted to do in life. They were, you know, exploring Washington, D.C., not necessarily to get involved in politics or public policy, but a whole range of things. International careers seem very popular. What advice would you have if one of them were to ask you, you know, how can I figure out how to plan my future?

Abby Witt [00:32:22] Oh, there’s a lot of advice that I’ve been given over my time, but I’ll give two pieces that have always been what I’ve leaned on, and one is to trust your gut. And that was something that Steve Sands taught me when I was interning at the Olympic Games. And because I’ve always trusted my gut and made decisions that not necessarily everybody agreed with or saw as to why I was making that decision, I still did it. And I know it was the gift of discernment that God has given me to be able to make a decision and just trust the instincts that you have. The second thing I would say is it doesn’t matter how long you think it takes to accomplish a goal, that time is going to pass anyway, so use that time to work towards that goal. That was something I was always afraid of pursuing this career is how long it could take me to get to where I wanted to go. And would I ever get married or have a family, or would it put my personal life behind? But you know that time is going to pass anyway, so I may as well work towards the goal I’ve always set for myself. And if I find a new path along the way, then that’s where I was meant to go. So trust your gut and work hard.

Roger Ream [00:33:34] Well, you certainly have a long way to go still as much as you have accomplished in just a short career. We look forward to seeing you more and more often on the Golf Channel, doing work with the PGA Tour, appearing on NBC Sports and covering the great game of golf, which has benefited from your coverage and humanizing the players, the great athletes that we watch every weekend on the golf course. So congratulations to that. I encourage everyone listening to go online and find some of the videos that Abby has produced for the Golf Channel. Learn more about these golfers and you’ll fall in love with the sport. So thank you, Abby, for being with us today on the Liberty and Leadership Podcast.

Abby Witt [00:34:21] I thank you just as much for everything that you’ve done for TFAS because if it wasn’t for TFAS, I also wouldn’t be here.

Roger Ream [00:34:29]  Thank you for listening to the Liberty and Leadership Podcast. Please don’t forget to subscribe, download like or share the show on Apple, Spotify or YouTube or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like this episode, I ask you to rate and review it, and if you have a comment or question for the show, please drop us an email at Podcast@TFAS.org. The Liberty and Leadership Podcast is produced at kglobal Studios in Washington, D.C. I’m your host Roger Ream and until next time show courage in things large and small.


About the Podcast

TFAS has reached more than 46,000 students and professionals through academic programs, fellowships and seminars. Representing more than 140 countries, TFAS alumni are courageous leaders throughout the world forging careers in politics, government, public policy, business, philanthropy, law and the media.

Join TFAS President Roger Ream ’76 as he reconnects with these outstanding alumni to share experiences, swap career stories, and find out what makes their leadership journey unique. With prominent congressmen, judges and journalists among the mix, each episode is sure to excite your interest in what makes TFAS special.

If you have a comment or question for the show, please email podcast@TFAS.org.

View future episodes and subscribe at TFAS.org/podcast.

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