GAP: Why did you pursue journalism as a
Didinger: Even as a boy, I loved reading,
especially newspapers. One of my first heroes
was Sandy Grady, the sports columnist for The
Philadelphia Bulletin. His columns made me
laugh, made me think and ultimately made
me want to be a writer. Ironically, when I was
hired by the Bulletin years later, I was given
the desk next to Sandy. I felt like a rookie
called up from the minors and given the locker
next to Babe Ruth.
GAP: When did you begin covering golf for
the Philadelphia Bulletin How did that beat
assignment start, and how long did it last?
Didinger: I started covering golf for the
Bulletin in 1969. A wonderful gentleman
named Joe Schwendeman covered golf for the
Bulletin for years but he left to take a job with
GAP: What was your connection to golf prior?
the PGA TOUR. The sports editor, Jack Wilson,
asked if I’d be interested in taking over for Joe.
I said, “Sure.” Who would pass up a chance to
cover The Masters? I wrote golf off and on for
the next 20 years both at the Bulletin and the
Philadelphia Daily News.
Did you play the sport?
Didinger: I played a lot when I was younger,
from my teenage years through college. Once I
started working, however, I didn’t have the time
to play regularly and my game deteriorated
to the point where I finally just gave my clubs
GAP: You covered many Golf Association of
Philadelphia events, including the Amateur
Championship and Joseph H. Patterson Cup.
What was the atmosphere surrounding those
Major championships like then?
Didinger: I covered all the local events,
including the Women’s Golf Association of
Philadelphia Team Matches, where I met some
great people like Helen Sigel Wilson and Dotty
Porter. Those ladies could really play.
Didinger’s golf graphs gradually gave
ground to the gridiron. His extensive
coverage of the National Football League
spawned published works such as “
Super Bowl: Celebrating a Quarter Century
of America’s Greatest Game,” “The Eagles
Encyclopedia,” “Football America: Celebrating Our National Passion” and “One
Last Read: The Collected Works of the
World’s Slowest Sportswriter.” Didinger
holds six Emmy Awards during his time
at NFL Films.
When a pen isn’t in hand, fingers at a
keyboard, it’s his voice that connects
with the Philadelphia Eagles fanbase.
Didinger co-hosts a radio show on 94.1
WIP with friend and fellow author Glen
Macnow and serves as an analyst/com-mentator for NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Although now immersed in the thick of
another NFL season, Didinger generously called a timeout to speak with the Golf
Association of Philadelphia Magazine.
Before he dispensed engaging and enriching insights and analysis to Philadelphia Eagles fans,
Ray Didinger roamed the region’s fairways, reporter’s notebook in hand.
THE PHILADELPHIA SPORTS HALL OF FAME MEMBER covered the Philadelphia golf scene for the Philadelphia Bulletin early in his professional career. Didinger, 72, of Philadelphia, Pa., interviewed the likes of William Hyndman, III, Dorothy Porter, R. Jay Sigel and Helen Sigel Wilson, to name a few. He chronicled Majors such as the BMW Philadelphia Amateur Championship and Joseph H. Patterson Cup. Didinger’s detailed descriptions pulsate regardless of sport. The colorful language used in his accounts of the 1973 Amateur, Sigel’s first win after multiple heartbreaks, perhaps foreshadowed a future five-time Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year
and Dick McCann Memorial Award recipient. “Don Sowers, the Pottsville porcelain salesman who putts like an old lady with arthritic knees, had
only one chance in yesterday’s 36-hole Final for the Philadelphia Amateur Golf Championship. He had to hope that the sight of that J. Wood
Platt Trophy, symbol of the area’s amateur golf supremacy, would again turn Jay Sigel’s overlapping grip into silly putty.”
GOLF ASSOCIATION OF PHILADELPHIA MAGAZINE