That’s Golf! March 2, 2014 Opening Salvo

by Al Pastor

Script of the first segment airing on SportsTalk AM 1300 The Zone (KVET-AM), Austin, TX, USA

 

Fore RIGHT, Comrade!

Fore RIGHT, Comrade!

AS A RESPONSIBLE BROADCASTER, I WOULD HATE TO THINK THAT THIS PROGRAM ENCOURAGES BINGE DRINKING, IN ANY MEANINGFUL WAY. THE URGE GENERALLY STRIKES RIGHT AFTER WE SIGN OFF THE AIR.

OF COURSE, YOUR HABITS ARE YOUR PREROGATIVE. GOLFERS WE KNOW ARE CREATURES OF ROUTINE. I’D JUST REMIND YOU THAT: 21 MEANS 21, AND SIX BEATS SEVEN.

I HOPE YOU AT LEAST SAW THE HIGHLIGHTS OF  LAST WEEK’S EXCITING MATCH PLAY FINAL. THE YOUNG, UNHERALDED FRENCHMAN, MONSIEUR DUBUISSON, HIT SOME ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS ESCAPES FROM THE DESERT, BEFORE FALLING TO ONE OF PERHAPS THE BEST OF AN EXCELLENT CROP OF YOUNG TOURING PROS, JASON DAY.

JUST ANOTHER EXCLAMATION POINT ON THE POWER OF SCRAMBLING. NO ONE PLAYS THIS GAME PERFECTLY. IT TAKES IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY ALONG WITH A BIT OF LUCK BUTTRESSING THE FUNDAMENTALS. A LITTLE MUNY GOLF ACTION FROM SOME OF THOSE ARIZONA LIES…FROM THE BASE OF A CACTUS, OFF THE ROCKS, AMAZING UP-AND-DOWNS.

GOLFERS PLAYING OUT IN ARIZONA WERE ONCE ADVISED TO CARRY A ‘ROCK’ IRON, A BEAT-UP 5-IRON, SAY, FOR THE SHOTS WHEN YOU LEFT THE GRASS. …JASON DAY THE WINNER ON THE 23RD HOLE. SOME FUN. NO LEAD IS SAFE IN MATCH PLAY, THAT’S THE BEAUTY OF IT. AND THAT’S WHY THE PRO TOURISTS FIND IT SO UNSETTLING, THE UNPREDICTABLE NATURE OF IT, ESPECIALLY WHEN PLAYED AT A HIGH LEVEL.

…OUR MOTTO ON THAT’S GOLF: GOTTA BE READY TO SCRAMBLE, AND FIVE BEATS SIX. JASON DAY, I’M GUESSING, IS CIRCULATING UPPERMOST IN THE MINDS OF THOSE THINKING AHEAD ABOUT THE  MASTERS.

…AND OUTSIDE THE TOY DEPARTMENT THIS WEEK, THERE CONTINUE TO BE PERILOUS DEVELOPMENTS IN A DISTANT PART OF THE WORLD, IN UKRAINE.

IT WAS THERE THAT WE HAD YET ANOTHER REMINDER OF THE NOOKS AND CRANNIES INTO WHICH GOLF SEEPS.  WE LEARNED OF THE EXCESSES OF OUSTED UKRANIAN PRESIDENT Viktor Yanukovych. NATURALLY, HE HAD A GOLF COURSE. IT WAS HERALDED AS A SIGN OF THAT EXCESS. HOW MUCH GOLF HE MIGHT’VE PLAYED IS A WORTHWHILE QUESTION.

I’M REMINDED OF BUTCH HARMON. A MEMBER OF THAT CELEBRATED CLAN, HE WAS ONCE EMPLOYED PERSONALLY BY THE KING OF MOROCCO, AN EXOTIC BUT LUCRATIVE POSTING. (AND I’M NOT IMPLYING IN ANY WAY THAT THE TWO NATIONS ARE SIMILAR.) THE KING WAS AN ENTHUSIASTIC, IF UNEXCEPTIONAL GOLFER, AND A GOOD FRIEND OF THE U.S. FOR MANY YEARS, WE LATER LEARNED, BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE MIDDLE EAST. LEE TREVINO AND BILLY CASPER VISITED MOROCCO  NUMEROUS TIMES, AND LEE TELLS AN INTERESTING STORY PLAYING WITH BUTCH AND THE KING, IN HIS BOOKS, THE SNAKE IN THE SANDTRAP.

…BUT DETAILS ON YANUKOVYCH’S GOLF REMAIN SKETCHY, AS DO MANY THINGS REGARDING HIS TIME LEADING ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT REGIMES ON EARTH.

INSIDE HIS WALLED COMPOUND THERE WAS MUCH TO MARVEL OVER. MAYBE YOU SAW THE PHOTOS. ALONG WITH THE MANSIONS AND MANICURED LAWNS, there were, ONE REPORT NOTED: parks dotted with statues, ponds with fountains, THE OBLIGATORY PETTING ZOO, a tennis court, a golf course and a colonnaded pavilion. AT LEAST ONE GOLFER TURNED OUT TO ENJOY THE NEWLY-OPENED 18-HOLE COURSE. THERE WAS, apparently, A LEATHER GOLF BAG TOO, WITH THE PRESIDENT’S NAME INSCRIBED ON IT. REPORTEDLY holding GOLD GOLF CLUBS EMBLAZONED WITH HIS PERSONAL LOGO – PERHAPS FROM THE JAPANESE CLUBMAKER, HONMA – WERE ALSO TAKEN OUT FOR A SPIN. HARD TO SAY FROM THE EARLY REPORTS. HONMA’S TOP OF THE LINE CLUBS GO FOR SOME $75K A SET.

GOLF, I THINK WE CAN AGREE, IS PROBABLY NOT UPPERMOST IN THE FORMER UKRANIAN LEADER’S MIND AT PRESENT…MORE LIKE KEEPING HIS HEAD ATTACHED TO HIS BODY.

…AND THEN, ODDLY, A COINCIDENCE CLOSER TO HOME.

THERE WAS A BIG SPORTS MEMORABILIA AUCTION LAST WEEK – AN ALLEGED GAME-USED ROOKIE BAT BY SHOELESS JOE JACKSON FROM 1911 WENT FOR $958,000. The auction took place at the Ukrainian Institute of America IN NEW YORK CITY. WHO KNEW?

YOU’LL HAVE ALSO HEARD THAT WALLY PRYOR PASSED AWAY. I’M SURE THE GENTLEMEN OF THE BUFFET WILL HAVE MUCH TO SAY ABOUT THE VOICE OF THE LONGHORNS. A GENTLEMAN AND A SWEETHEART. A LOVELY TRIBUTE.

THIS MORNING WE – IN THE CONGENIAL SNOBATORIUM THAT IS THE SHAG-ENCRUSTED CONFINES, ALONG WITH EVERYONE WHO MAKES $14 THE HARD WAY – ALSO MOURN THE DEATH OF COMEDIAN HAROLD RAMIS. WE HAVE HIM, IN LARGE MEASURE, TO THANK FOR MOVIES LIKE ANIMAL HOUSE, GHOSTBUSTERS, STRIPES, AND HE COLLABORATED ON THE SCRIPT AND DIRECTED HIS FRIEND BILL MURRAY IN “GROUND HOG DAY.” BUT, WE ESPECIALLY HONOR HIS DIRECTORIAL DEBUT, WHICH WAS “CADDYSHACK.” THE LEGS OF THAT MOVIE CAME AS A CONSIDERABLE SURPRISE TO HAROLD RAYMIS. HE PASSED AWAY AT THE AGE OF 69. A FUNNY MAN AND FUNNY WRITER.

AND, AS LIFE INCREASINGLY PAYS TRIBUTE TO ART, NO LESS THAN THE PRESIDENT, HIS OWN SELF, RELEASED A STATEMENT EXTENDING HIS THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS TO THE RAYMIS FAMILY, WITH A SLY CADDYSHACK REFERENCE.

AS REPORTED IN USA TODAY:

Obama said in a written statement Tuesday that his thoughts and prayers GO OUT TO THE Ramis family, and “all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.” UNQUOTE

THE REFERENCE TO “total consciousness” – GRASPED USA TODAY – HARKENS TO A quote uttered by Carl Spackler, PLAYED ADEPTLY by Bill Murray.

CRAZY CARL, YOU’LL RECALL, claims he once caddied for the Dalai Lama — “big hitter, the Lama” — but the religious leader failed to tip him.

“He says, ‘oh, uh, there won’t be any money — but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness,'” Spackler says, adding (famously): “So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

I’VE SEEN PHOTOS OF A BUDDHIST MONK WHO PLAYS THE MUNYS IN SAN FRANCISCO IN HIS ROBES. PERHAPS HE’S A BETTER TIPPER THAN THE LAMA.

IN CASE YOU JUST HAPPEN TO BE SPANNING THE DIAL, THIS IS THE SHOW DEVOTED TO THE GAME WITHOUT PARTICIPANTS FACING FELONY GUN CHARGES. NO PRISON SCUFFLES FOR MURDER SUSPECTS. NO SCREAMING COACHES OR MANIACAL FANS. NO ACCUSATIONS OF CHOKING A WOMAN AT A PARTY, OR UNPROVOKED ATTACKS ON THEIR OWN EXPENSIVE VEHICLES WITH A BASEBALL BAT. JUST OCCASIONAL, UNFUNNY, BUFFOONERY, STUPID THINGS TWEETED IN SEARCH OF A CHEAP LAUGH.

THIS MONTH, IN ADVANCE OF THE MASTERS, WHICH, tomorrow, is less than 40 DAYS OFF, WE TURN OUR ATTENTION TO IMPROVEMENT. SOME OF THE SOUTH TEXAS PGA’S FINEST WILL JOIN ME TO AIR OUT YOUR GAME FOR SPRING. AND, WE’LL ALSO HAVE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL VISIT WITH THE PRO AT 8:30. IT’S ALL PART OF THE SERVICE.

OUR FORECAST:

AS HE HEAD TO OUR FIRST BREAK – THERE ARE NO TIME-OUTS IN GOLF – A QUICK ASIDE TO FILE UNDER ‘WHY THESE GUYS ARE DIFFERENT:’

ON THURSDAY’S ROUND Zach Johnson SHOT 67. He hit two shots into the water on his way to a quadruple-bogey 8 on his second hole of the tournament. HE THEN RESPONDED WITH seven birdies to get back in the game. SNOWMAN FOLLOWED BY SEVEN BIRDIES. COMPARE THAT WITH THE BLACK HOLE THAT WE FALL INTO WITH AN 8 ON THE SECOND HOLE OF A ROUND.

[AND WHAT A DIFFERENCE FOR RORY MCILORY. THIS WAS THE TOURNAMENT HE STORMED OFF LAST YEAR IN DISGUST. SEVEN OVER PAR AFTER EIGHT HOLES. THAT WAS THEN. AN OPENING-ROUND 63. HE LEADS HEADED INTO TODAY’S FINAL ROUND BY TWO STROKES. IN PURSUIT: Russell Henley, Russell Knox, FORMER LONGHORN Jhonny Vegas, Keegan Bradley & Luke Donald.]

I’M GLAD YOU COULD JOIN US. AN OSCAR (MADISON) PERFORMANCE. …RIDING BY CENTRAL PRESBYTERIAN DOWNTOWN THE OTHER DAY I HAPPENED TO NOTICE THESE WORDS: “DELIBERATELY DIVERSE, FULLY INCLUSIVE.” SO IT HAPPENS IS THAT’S GOLF. AND THE PRESBYTERIAN INFLUENCE IS ONE OF LONGSTANDING IN THE AULD SCOTTISH GAME. THOSE SEMINARY STUDENTS WHO WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. ANDREWS TOOK GOLF ACROSS THE VICTORIAN BRITISH EMPIRE. WHY I BRING THIS UP IS JUST ONE OF ANY NUMBER OF TANGENTS WE MIGHT EXPLORE WITH STEVE DARBY, WHO JOINS US AFTER THE BREAK. THE LONGTIME PRO AT HISTORIC HANCOCK SIDLES BY NEXT.

YOU’RE LISTENING TO THAT’S GOLF HERE ON SPORTSTALK AM 1300 THE ZONE.

 

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