TV golf commentator Charlie Rymer on June 5 launched the second season of his ESPN2 interview show, The Charlie Rymer Golf Show, even as, behind the scenes, the former pro was taking his best swings against colon cancer.
Rymer has taped more than half of the season’s 14 episodes while receiving chemotherapy treatments to combat stage-three colon cancer, which he said was detected after a regularly-scheduled colonoscopy.
“I never was sick, never had any symptoms and it doesn’t run in the family, so it was a real surprise,” Rymer told Multichannel News.
The former CBS, ABC and Golf Channel on-air personality earlier this year had a portion of his colon surgically removed before beginning his chemotherapy stint. He said that the doctors believe they removed all the cancer with the surgery but “as insurance” they decided he should get the chemotherapy treatments.
Rymer, who played on the PGA Tour and the Nike Tour through most of the 1990s, isn’t waiting until his chemo treatments end in July to remain productive. He plans to finish taping the remainder of the season while continuing his chemotherapy treatments.
The second season of the series, produced by WorkShop Content Studios in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has Rymer giving golf tips and interviewing such celebrities as Ray Romano and golf icons Dustin Johnson and Gary Player, as well as former football star Sterling Sharpe and country musician Jamie Johnson. Rymer also says he addresses his colon cancer prognosis in an episode with former NFL player Vince Papale.
“Normally, when I have a guest and we’re on a golf course, I’ll hit some golf shots or work in a golf tip, but in quite a few of the early episodes we weren’t able to do that because I couldn’t swing a golf club,” he said. “But we have quite a few more to tape, so I’m thinking moving forward I’ll definitely be able to swing.”
Working on the series has helped mitigate the often debilitating effects of chemotherapy, Rymer said. “If you stay busy you don’t realize you feel so bad, but I’ve had a few days where I’ve had to go and curl up in bed,” he said. “I think staying busy is definitely a blessing.”
Going forward, Rymer said he will look for ways to bring more awareness to colon cancer — the third most common cancer diagnosed in the United States according to the American Cancer Society — and the importance of getting a colonoscopy.
“So many men just don’t want to do it, but it's not that bad,” he said. “I’m fully convinced that if I had waited until I actually had symptoms my story would have unfolded very differently.”
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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