Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Opinion: Roger Twibell peddles popular putters

Kansas University is among the schools that have licensed Roger Twibell’s to sell putters with their logos

Kansas University is among the schools that have licensed Roger Twibell’s to sell putters with their logos


A collection of decorative putters leaning against the wall in the corner of his office inspired longtime broadcaster Roger Twibell to come up with a product that merges the loyalty aspect of those impractical door prizes with a golfer’s desire to trim strokes.

Twibell pulled it off. He markets logo putters from the website A number of universities, including Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State, licensed him to sell putters with their logos. Ultimately, Twibell hopes to break through on the corporate level. Picture Budweiser executives stroking putters with the beer’s logo staring at them. Maybe even a tournament with all 144 participants all using the same logo putter.

“I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback,” Twibell said. “People like the putters.”

If it sounds like a long shot in the same way all golf products not used by a PGA Tour professional do, that’s not likely to deter Twibell, a 1973 KU graduate. He remembers when people thought the concept of a sports-only network was sure to fail. Twibell joined ESPN in 1980, 13 months after the network’s birth.

“The inmates ran the asylum, no question about that,” said Twibell, who lives in the Kansas City area and plays most of his golf at Mission Hills. “It was interesting because there were like three or four of us who had been in television awhile. Greg Gumbel had been in Chicago. George Grande had been around awhile. Then there were guys like Chris Berman, who was basically a rookie. It was kind of an interesting mixture.”

Twibell fell into the young veteran category. He started his professional career as the sports anchor for Sunflower Cable in Lawrence. That became a springboard for stops in Tucson, Dallas, Miami, Boston and then Bristol, Conn., where the ESPN studios remain.

“One of the things we used to do that I always had a lot of fun with, we’d be calling an event from the studio in Bristol, and the chroma-key backdrop was of the city where the event was,” Twibell said. “So we’d be sitting in Bristol doing an international track and field meet in Milan, Italy, talking about what a great dinner we had the night before, saying, ‘The Chianti was great!’ They weren’t traveling us around the world like they do these days. Those were good times.”

Twibell said the “SportsCenter” shows took place at 7 p.m., 11 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. Single at the time, he volunteered for the 2:30 slot, appearing to be oh-so considerate, saintly almost, of the anchors who had families.

“There was a method to my madness,” he said. “I didn’t have to come in until 10, and all the people in suits were gone by then. I’d sleep until noon, play golf all day, have a nice dinner, come into work and be out of there by 3:30 (a.m.). There was nothing to do in Bristol, Conn., anyway. Plus they’d play that 2:30 show 10 times in the morning. I was getting on the air more than anybody.”

Not everybody agreed with Twibell that there was nothing to do in Bristol.

“The White Birch Café was a restaurant/bar down the street from the studio in a pie-shaped lot on a corner,” Twibell said. “Fred the producer had over-extended his dinner and was producing the show while watching it on TV from the White Birch while having a cocktail.”

All those spring, summer and autumn days on the golf course gave Twibell a nice feel for the right putter. His has a Jayhawk on it. In Lawrence, putters with Jayhawk logos on them can be found by Father’s Day shoppers at Framewoods, Kansas Sampler, KU Bookstore and Lawrence Country Club.


always_correct 7 years, 4 months ago

I guess I missed the part where there was an opinion in this opinion piece. At least we know if you're friends with Keegan he'll help peddle your putters.

JBsJAYHAWKS 7 years, 4 months ago

I love this town and my Jayhawks, but one can only get coverage if they are an athlete, donor or as you said a friend. It is a sad comment, but true. I like Roger, but the LJWorld should take pride in all Jayhawkers who are trying to become famous, rich and noted for their work. I will probably get "BLOCKED" and don't bad mouth the Governor, you might end up in county

Phil Leister 7 years, 4 months ago

One giant advertisement for some putters...

ahpersecoachingexperience 7 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

pepper_bar 7 years, 4 months ago

I got zapped a couple days ago for calmly implying Bill Self is not a strict disciplinarian. Meanwhile, on the message boards, profanities fly around freely. No sense even bothering to try to understand this site's moderation policy.

1southernjayhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Keegan, I enjoyed the article and I appreciate your work in general. It was Interesting to catch up with Roger Twibell to see what he is up to.

somebodynew 7 years, 4 months ago

Nice article, but I would have liked it better if there was a little more information on the putter.

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

The KU putter is the model of consistency. You will birdie nine, maybe 10 holes in a row.

The K-State putter is wildly inconsistent. You may tie for the championship 3 times in one year, then not win another (or part of another) for 30 years.

The MU putter - has a putting surface on both sides. Some would call it two-faced. Plus, it has a limber, weak shaft.

Jeffery Barrett 7 years, 4 months ago

LOL! Oh my, nuleaf, how do you come up with this stuff!

fivefloods 7 years, 4 months ago

Actually the MU putter can only be used on the first 14 holes. Why? Cause MU putters can never make it to the final four.

Danny Hernandez 7 years, 4 months ago

Too bad Roger still isn't with ESPN, his on air presence could neutralize the misery tiger ESPN presence.

fivefloods 7 years, 4 months ago

Twibell's downfall on his KC radio show was his constant talking of golf. It could be the day before the Super Bowl, he could have the starting qb of one of the teams and his first question would be..."have you got any golf in this week?"

nuleafjhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

maybe " golf " was his code word for sweet lovin.....

Joe Baker 7 years, 4 months ago

I have a simliar putter, but my clubs have a blue KU on white, with red trim on them. They didn't offer the Jayhawk when I had them made.

It's a good Summer piece. Keegs is bored. However, I'd be playing golf, not writing about putters.

GO GOLFING KEEGS and enjoy a nice cigar while you play.

pepper_bar 7 years, 4 months ago

Conveniently, this is running right before Father's Day.

JayHawkFanToo 7 years, 4 months ago

I am sorry to say that the first thing that came to mind when I saw the picture was...why did they put the picture of a Jayhawk in a urinal? Maybe one too many cups of coffee this morning.

JBsJAYHAWKS 7 years, 4 months ago

Can't blame Roger for talking golf, just don't mess with our KU Sports - Rock Chalk

Isn't there a semi professional team that plays at Cough UP Stadium? I'll stick with my Jayhawk sports.

Can I also mention my books my be turned into movies - I'm an Alum - does that help?

FlyingPliers 7 years, 4 months ago

You should not be allowed to publish this kind of nonsense. Shame on the LJW for printing it.

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