Monday, June 17, 2013

On the links

Last week, Tiger Woods added to his incredible list of super-human accomplishments.

He played in the U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club in Haverford Township, Pennslvania.

And at the very same time, he made an appearance at the Executive 9-Hole Course at Penmar by The Sea, also known as Landfill by the Pacific, or The Santa Monica Squirrel Preserve.

Obviously he didn't transcend the law of physics and make an actual appearance, but he was there in spirit, in the body of a hard charging Tiger wannabe who had joined our foursome on the first tee box with...

 "OK, boys, let's show this bitch who is in charge."

Then Tiger, I believe his name was Chris, proceeded to fist bump the four strangers with whom he would thoroughly embarrass himself with for the next 3 hours.

In fact when this Tiger Pretender with the extremely high testosterone-count wasn't cursing at the grounds crew for leaving the sprinklers on or complaining about the length of the tree branches -- which he hit with great regularity -- he was constantly fistbumping. Which seemed to be his primary mode of communication.

Every action taken on the course that day required a fist bump.

"Nice sand save brother, put it here."

"Excellent 4 foot putt, give me some."

"I like the way you tee'd that ball up, show me some love."

If you hadn't guessed, I'm not given to excessive exuberance. Particularly during a game of amateur golf by a bunch of unemployed weekday duffers on a rag-tag Muni course. But Chris/Tiger didn't see it that way. In his head Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo and Jim Nance were watching his every move.

Why else would he be taking ten practice swings? Or gauging the distance to the hole with his $300 Scoutmaster KL 9000? Or pronouncing that his goal was to land all his approach shots below the hole so he would have easier uphill putts? At Penmar, which is flatter than a ping pong table?

But what made all his prepping and preening and posturing so delightfully delicious was that fact that this blowhard sucked. Big Time.

There wasn't a tree he didn't hit. A green he didn't four putt. A shot he didn't turn into a Tin Cup disaster. If anything, he was the Anti-Tiger. I could have watched him "play" all day long. It was that entertaining.

The best specific example I could cite happened on the second, one of the longer holes on the course that faces into the ocean and the ocean breeze.

Before tee-ing off, Anti-Tiger, reached down and pulled a thatchet of grass from the lawn. And then, as if sporting a PGA card in his back pocket, proceeded to toss the loose grass into the air to getter a better read about how the wind was swirling above the treetops. He watched carefully as the fallen grass was swept to his left. Ideally, he would counter the wind with a low stinging draw that would stay low and leave him a make-able approach shot.

Instead, he pulled out his big black square headed Titanium driver, held his breath, over swung, and with a mighty grunt, topped the ball, sending a worm burner  50 yards through the deep grass until it stopped on the backside of a tree.

That was followed by a loud outburst of cursing and screaming.

As he thundered away to his ball, I turned to my buddy, and we exchanged some laughter borne of schadenfreud as well as a small surreptitious fist bump -- the only one that was merited for that day.

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