I was sitting here at my desk checking out some of the framed pics I keep close. One I keep very close is the shot of me, on the Tournament Player’s Championship golf course in Scottsdale.
I only had a few occasions to play there, and I managed to be invited there on three occasions. The first time I played in a scramble event where we hit the best ball for score. I was way out of my league, especially with my game, and these were heavy hitters both on the golf course and in the wallet. Turns out they were major home builders in Phoenix and Scottsdale and were big sponsors of the upcoming PGA event.
The day was as windy a day as I can remember, and the golf course was championship-ready.
These guys bet on everything.
They bet like I would bet if I had any real money.
I was so over-my-head, and that stupid stubborn streak got hold, so I bet money I didn’t have. Something I haven’t done since I was single living in Las Vegas.
I actually managed to win a closest- to-hitting-a-beer-can contest off the top of a golf cart.
The longest drive contest came up on a par-5 six-hundred plus yards hole dead into a thirty mile-per-hour desert wind, sand and all.
I was the weakest of the four of us, by a sizeable yardage.
The first golfer, Bradley Cooper (not him), a big-armed builder with bright red hair. In normal conditions, his ball would easily find the three-hundred yard mark.
My two-twenty-five did not appear as sexy.
Bradley stormed off the tee cursing, as his ball landed a good fifty yards off the fairway.
The wind actually gave me confidence.
Stevenson, a banker, hit next and he hit a lower ball, opting to try and keep it under the wind, using a three-wood. The wind snatched it up and his Titleist was lost somewhere in the cholla cactus.
When it’s in the cholla, you take the stroke.
If not, it would be like putting your hand into a sack full of horny porcupines.
Jerry, the builder who invited me, and a major rival of Bradley, hit the ball even lower, but the five-wood he hit just missed the fairway by no more than a foot.
All I had to do was keep the ball in the fairway.
Now, keep in mind, these were days when I was still drinking, before I knew I had diabetes.
So I was a heavy-hitter, just not in golf.
I could have been a real pussy and putted the ball. Or chipped a little wedge ten yards down the fairway, but these boys were not the kind to do that to.
Besides, that is so gay (no offense intended, just an expression).
I decided if I lined it up just almost directly into the gale and put the ball way up in my stance, and I thought I could get it out there close to a hundred yards.
Just like in the movies, the wind died down just as I reached the top of my coiled backswing, and BOOM.
I got all of it.
Straight, no higher than ten yards off the ground straight in the middle of the fairway, landing at two-hundred-three yards.
Karen was thrilled when I gave her the thousand dollars I said I won.