URI seniors knowledge of golf, sports ethics
makes him hot commodity on PGA Tour
KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 1, 2002 -- Hes met Tiger Woods and traveled to the Stanley Cup playoffs as a child with his father. But as T.J. Auclair prepares for graduation from the University of Rhode Island in May, he knows such encounters will soon be a part of his daily work schedule.
In fact, just a month before he earned his bachelors degree from URI, he was covering the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.
The senior journalism major is well prepared to walk with these kings of the athletics world without becoming one of them. For the third year in a row, Auclair won first-place in the college division of an essay contest run by the Institute for International Sport at URI as part of its National Sportsmanship Day. Winning entries are published in The Providence Journal.
This year, The Journal awarded him a certificate and published his essay about world champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, in the sports section on March 5. In the previous two years, Auclairs winning essays were about golfers Brad Faxon and Jean Van de Velde.
"I have a real sense of satisfaction over having all three of my winning essays published," the North Smithfield resident said. "Such honors only reinforce what I want to do when I get out of school."
Auclair chose the topic for this years award-winning essay on his way home from the British Open while reading an article about Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong last July. Auclair was impressed that Armstrong, who is a cancer survivor, would risk his chance for victory to see if another cyclist was OK.
"At one point in the race, Armstrongs toughest competitor fell off his bike. Instead of taking the lead, Armstrong waited for his opponent to get back on the bike," Auclair explained. "I thought it was a good act of sportsmanship."
He also wrote in his piece how Armstrong felt his successful battle with testicular cancer was a wake up call. Auclair was impressed that within months of Armstrongs diagnosis he formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which helps people manage and survive cancer.
Auclair wrote that Armstrong "set the standard for perseverance" by winning the Tour de France in 1999, less than three years after his cancer diagnosis.
Along with his schoolwork and commitment as sports editor of the daily student newspaper, The Good 5-Cent Cigar, Auclair has maintained a full schedule, writing a weekly column for the golf web site he and his father own called www.insidetheropes.com. He has also written sports for local newspapers such as the South County Independent and The Newport Daily News.
His fathers career as a sports talk show host motivated Auclair to become a sports writer. A former World Cup and professional skier, Auclairs father, Tom, worked at WNRI Radio in Woonsocket and then started his own business called the Independent Sports Network (ISN). While working with his dad at WNRI, ISN, and now insidetheropes.com, T.J. has traveled to events such as every Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots home game, the Masters, the U.S. Open, the British Open, the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. This springs Masters Tournament was the 20th major golf championship the URI student has attended.
"Ive basically been around pro athletes my whole life because of my dad and I love what he does. I get to meet a lot of different people. Im not star-struck, but I respect and admire what they do," he said.
Traveling and working with his father and his knowledge of the field has led Auclair down the path to a promising future.
Following graduation, the 22-year-old will be on the road approximately 43 weeks of the year covering the PGA Golf Tour professionally for insidetheropes.com. This summer he will travel throughout the country and in September, the new graduate will be heading overseas to places such as Scotland, Ireland, and England.
"Im very excited about it. Ill miss my friends and lifestyle here, but I feel I am ready to move on," he said.
For Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116, Stephanie Paquette 401-874-2116