published Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Who golfs? Baseball umpire Tyler Covington

Tyler Covington used to crush baseballs over outfield walls. Now he crushes golf balls down fairways.

But he spent part of Tuesday afternoon practicing short chips and trying to emulate the flop shot Tiger Woods hit Sunday to help him win.

"This is the part of my game that lets me down," said Covington, a Chattanooga State volunteer assistant coach who can spend hours at Brown Acres Golf Course.

Covington, who played baseball for Ooltewah, said he's played both sports most of his life. He plays whichever is in season.

"In the spring, I'd never touch a golf club because the swings are almost opposite," said Covington, a lefty who has a career low of 3-over-par 75 at Brown Acres. "Later in the summer, I don't play much baseball."

He may not play, but he has the best view in the house for many United States Specialty Sports Association baseball games as an umpire.

Covington said he has missed more six-inch putts on the golf course than he's missed calls behind the plate.

"I have blown a call here and there on the basepaths," Covington said. "But never behind the plate. Of course as an umpire you will blow a call here or there."

But he said he's never missed a call while working behind the plate.

"I was a hitter so I have a hitter's strike zone and pitchers hate it," said Covington, who ejected two coaches in the past year for arguing balls and strikes. "You have to throw it in a can. I won't give much."

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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