golf in the kingdom

Ben Hogan’s memorable 1-iron shot at Merion US Open, proving Ben could hit a 1-iron, even if God couldn’t … Sorry, Lee Trevino, just couldn’t let that pass …

If I had it all to do over again can be gleaned from what I sailed over to bigpinekey.com Coconut Telegraph Deer Ed boss pirate yesterday afternoon, replying to this seriously ignoramus comment:

Golf is the biggest pussy sport there is. It isn’t even a sport, it’s a game. Look at all the portly pro golfers playing today. They play and eat lobster and filet mignons at country clubs, someone else carries their heavy clubs, and everyone has to be quiet while they shoot. Now if they had to carry their own clubs and walk, not ride in those little carts, scored on how fast they finished, and spectators could yell at them like baseball, football, and basketball —that would be a sport!

I played golf the way this critic says it should be played, except for the part about people yelling on my shots. I played 36 holes a day in the summer, 95+ Fahrenheit carrying my own bag, every day. That pussy game beat the living shit out of my psyche. You should check out what it has done to former NBA star Charles Barkley’s psyche. His swing looks like something invented in a pretzel factory.

Something this critic might do is play 36 holes a day at the nearest public golf course from May 31-August 31. And count every stroke. And play from the most back tees. And walk and carry his own bag. And never improve his lie in the fairway, in the rough, in a sand trap, on the green. And count all of this strokes. And let a friend come along and video his very last round, to share with all of us on the CT, so we can see whether he is a he-man or a pussy or a cry baby or a club thrower or breaker.

Something this critic also might do is consider that you don’t get mulligans in golf, if you play it by the rules. You don’t get to take shots over. You have to play every shot as the ball lies. If your lie is unplayable, you can move the ball and take a two stroke penalty. If you lose a ball, it’s a two stroke penalty. If you hit a ball into a water hazard, it’s a one stoke penalty. If you hit a ball out of bounds, it’s a two stroke penalty. If your ball moves when you address it, that’s a one stroke penalty. If you ground your club in a sand trap or water hazard, or even touch a water hazard weed with your backswing, that’s a one stroke penalty. You are not allowed to cheat or to lie about your score.

Imagine living your whole life like that. That’s what playing real golf teaches you.

The US Open begins tomorrow on an old golf course in San Francisco. I’ve been watching the Golf Channel (218 on Direct TV) lead-ins for this tournament. This is going to be one very tough, long, mother from hell golf course for the best golfers in the world to challenge. This course is going to make grown men cry and tremble and get really angry. I am looking forward to watching it, to commiserating with the victims and cheering the stars. I wish I had been that good. It sure would have beat anything else I tired in the way of work, and it would have been play, if it were not so darn rough on the psyche and often on the body.

For further proof, find a copy of Golf In The Kingdom in a rare bookstore and get yourself turned inside out. Just read the story. Skip the post mortem, which was unnecessary and, well, insulted the story.

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