Actor DENNIS HAYSBERT—or as he is called daily, “Presi- dent Palmer” and “The Allstate Guy”—grew up in San Mateo and is an avid golfer, even playing in the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Haysbert, 58, is known for his role on the TV series “24” as President David Palmer, and his distinct, deep voice makes him easily recognizable as the spokesman for Allstate. The 6-foot-4 1/2 Haysbert had college scholarship offers to play football, but instead chose to attend the Ameri- can Academy of Dramatic Arts. Other notable roles by Haysbert include Pedro Cerrano in the “Major League” trilogy and Ray- mond Deagan in “Far From Heaven.”
The San Mateo High School alum is the eighth of nine sib- lings and has worked in film and television since 1979. His hand- icap hovers in the low teens, playing out of Lakeside GC in Los Angeles and Sherwood CC in Thousand Oaks. –Scott Seward
How would you describe your golf game? A work in progress. •••
How long has it been in progress? It would be a dis- service to me and the game to say it’s been just 20 years, but it all depends on how busy I am. Some- times I play a great deal during the week, and some- times when I’m really busy, I don’t pick up a club at all. What generally happens is as soon as I start get- ting good, I get a job and I have to put my clubs down. When I come back, I can’t repeat anything. It’s a work in progress. Give me two or three weeks of steady play, and my handicap starts to come down.
Have you ever wanted to star in a golf role? Absolutely. Oh my god. You know how good I’d get playing golf every day for three months? That would be wonderful. •••
What’s the best golf tip you’ve ever received? I’ve received several. It’s just executing them. A very good friend of mine and sometimes coach is Dave Stockton. Whenever I go, I improve tremendously. It’s just I can never sustain it because I can’t see him every week. •••
Do you see him for putting? I am actually a very good putter. It’s just sometimes my ball striking is questionable.
How did you feel when you got to play in the AT&T? Nervous. Extremely nervous. I revere these guys. They are incredible players. What’s frustrating is you think you can do what they do, and you can’t. It’s really, really frustrating. I’ve only played once, but I’ve been invited numerous times. I’ve just always been working. •••
Does your performing background help you on the golf course? I play bet- ter with a gallery. Audiences don’t bother me. That’s what I live for. I’ve been on Broadway; I’ve been on stage most of my life. Generally, when I’m on set, I’m performing in front of at least 100 people.
What would be your dream foursome? That’s a really hard question because there are a lot of the old-school guys I would love to play golf with, and a lot of the young guys as well. Of the younger guys, I would love to play with Tiger, Ian Poul- ter and Mickelson. I’d love to play with Ian because of his Ryder Cup competition. There’s just something that happens to that man when he plays in that competition. There’s a fire in his belly that emerges. Tiger’s Tiger. Pure, unadulterated golf. The man is just amazing. Phil is just amazing around the greens, and that’s my weakness right now. I would love to be able to chip and flop like him. But I know I’m leaving someone out.