Win-win: Malnati basking in PGA, Royals glory

Tour pro visits MLB.com and talks MLB.TV

Win-win: Malnati basking in PGA, Royals glory

NEW YORK -- PGA Tour pro Peter Malnati was in the MLB.com studios on Thursday with wife Alicia to talk baseball, and it would be correct to say that he felt right at home.

This is the guy who wears the familiar MLB.com logo on his golf shirt every round on tour as part of a unique pro sports sponsorship deal.

This is the guy who did MLB.com proud by winning his first PGA Tour title -- a $738,000 payday at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss. -- only eight days after his beloved Royals won their first world championship in his lifetime.

This is the guy who often goes to bed with MLB.TV Premium streaming on his iPad so he can stay up late watching the Royals and call it "rest" as part of his tour routine.

"I have this theory," Malnati said. "I know it's really important in any line of work, especially in what I do with golf, to be well-rested. Sleep is really important. But I have this theory. As long as I'm all ready for bed, teeth brushed and everything, and I'm tucked in bed, everything I do from there still counts almost as sleep.

"So I watch the Royals on my iPad a lot, and if they're playing on the West Coast or even in Central time and I'm on the East Coast, as long as I get in bed then, I've got my iPad and that counts as sort of sleep. . . . It's so valuable for me to have MLB.TV and just be able to lay in bed with my iPad, because otherwise I would feel bad staying up so late watching some of the games that I do. That way it is just completely justified."

Malnati had a few messages to pass along during his visit, and we'll just start there with his advice about streaming live games. You can give the gift of a $129.99 yearly subscription to MLB.TV Premium to yourself or anyone on your holiday list right now, no shipping involved. It means every 2016 out-of-market game live or on-demand on more than 400 devices, more than 300 select Spring Training games and full-game archives of every 2015 regular season and postseason game.

When you are watching your favorite team, Malnati advises, keep the faith.

"It's really crazy. I remember when my wife and I were dating, around the 2009 baseball season," Malnati said. "The Royals were fun to watch, they played with a lot of energy, we loved them, but they were still kind of pathetic [65-97 that season] . ... There were no fans in Kauffman Stadium, ever. They just didn't seem like a team that was five or six years away from being a championship team. But I told Alicia: 'Sometime in my lifetime, we are going to see the Royals win a World Series.' Well, it didn't take them long.

"The timing of things, to have them win and me to win the very next week, that's pretty special."

You want to talk about faith in your potential and how good that can feel when hope is realized? Just go back to the beginnings of Malnati's blog, and the part where he "jogged down to Wal-Mart for a can of fix-a-flat" so he could get to his first final round as a pro golfer. It was 2009 as well.

They grew and reached the top together, Malnati and his Royals.

"At the end of 2014, I saw a big parallel with the Royals," he said. "They had unfinished business -- they needed two more runs to win the World Series. I had unfinished business in that I wanted to get back to the PGA Tour, where I dreamed of playing, and then actually turn that dream into more of a reality and feel that I belong and stay there. ... The Royals won the division, they get back to the playoffs, and then they made it all the way to the World Series and won it in five games. I made it back to the PGA Tour and it took me three events to win and kind of lock up that feeling of security and feeling like I belonged. The parallel there was actually uncanny."

Peter Malnati on champion Royals

Malnati attended all seven games of the 2014 World Series. He had to make a "grown-up" decision to attend none of the 2015 World Series games, though, so he and Alicia followed the games on TV from Mississippi, where she wore her Royals cap.

"It was tough on me, because this great relationship we have with MLB, we had every opportunity to be in Kansas City for Games 1 and 2, and we could have even made it to New York for Games 3 and 4," Malnati said. "But with the golf schedule being what it is, our end of the year on the Web.com Tour ran right into the start of the PGA Tour season, so we had a long stretch where we didn't get much time off. So we actually watched the World Series from home until Sunday, and on Sunday we traveled to Mississippi, got there in time to watch Game 5, the clincher.

"We were sitting in Mississippi watching it, and then we were still right there in Mississippi eight days later, after all the rain that forced the PGA Tour into a Monday finish. So we were in Mississippi for both the Royals' win and my first win on tour, and it was really cool."

Malnati said the MLB.com logo has been an "attention-getter."

"My rookie year on tour, we did the logo just on my golf bag," he said. "There is still really good visibility there, and it got attention. But wearing it on my chest has been an attention-getter. So we get a lot of questions. I think it's really cool for me, for the most part the relationship I get more than I give to MLB, because they take care of my wife and I as baseball fans. We get to go to some games, we get to kind of feel like we are insiders. But it's also been cool for me, I enjoy the ability to sort of give back in the relationship and do some golf outings.

"I love to play golf. Yeah, pro-ams and corporate outings obviously aren't golf in its purest form, but I like to play. For us to get to go to events like the All-Star Game, the Home Run Derby and the World Series and playoff games -- and do a golf outing with some of MLB's clients -- is really, really cool for us."

For the Malnatis, these particular holidays are exceptionally happy. And the routine for 2016 is set. Play golf. Watch baseball.

"It's so much fun to be a [baseball] fan," he said. "I enjoy watching Opening Day, I enjoy watching Game 27, I enjoy watching them all. Baseball becomes so much fun as you get toward the end of August and into September. I would just like for the Royals to be relevant for years and years -- that would be so much fun."

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.