Just when I thought I had American golf figured out, a number of new thoughts occurred to me about types in our sport. And although this type of column may not be high up on the importance scale after this weeks horrific events in Virginia, a new type of thinking was necessary to get some relief from the disturbing notions that tragedy unearthed.
Even staid, middle-aged types like me sometimes dig around YouTube and other populist websites in search of evidence of new and hip culture. (But never at work! No sir! Not on work computers! Would never do it. I promise. Now stop looking at me through those hidden cameras.)
Another video, Chipping with Satan, is a 52-second short-game lesson with the Dark Lord. Price for mishits: your immortal soul. I swear, I will never sneer at Dave Pelz again.
After I got over the momentary needle-shock ' after all, this is my livelihood were skewering here ' I moved on to the chuckle stage. Gotta laugh at oneself, right? It made me realize two things, though. First, its amazing that some people have ample time to pay attention to the things they hate. I barely have enough hours for the people and things I love. Second, outside our familiar precincts, American golf still suffers from a hoity-toity, plaid-pants image in the minds of many.
Erasing it may be too big a job for this generation, even if we succeed in getting more people to play. But I see hope. Witness Boo Weekley, winner at Hilton Head last week, and his complete refusal to dilute his country-boy roots with even one drop of citified dandiness. The pride of Milton, Florida has gladly admitted to the crimson hue of his neck more than once, and I have yet to meet anyone who does not like to be around him and his genuine happiness. From a TV production point of view, hes a joy ' there is seldom any need to cover Boo interviews with B-roll (supporting video) because its just so dang fun to watch him talk. When Boo smiles broad as a country mile and says its from his Deddys sahd of the family that he gets his propensity for getting himself into trouble and making things tough for himself, its impossible for listeners (and watchers) not to smile as well.
Of course, Boos appeal has less to do with his background and style (in Florida, we call it cracker) than with his obvious genuineness. People can spot a phony, and they can be spotted in all walks of life. It follows that they can just as easily pick out a genuine character, a person of parts. Fortunately, golf has been full of them. Welcome to the club, Mr. Weekley.
Weekleys name has been mentioned as successor to golfs self-appointed Chief Redneck, John Daly. (Before you accuse me of harshness with the R-word, please back off and recall that J.D. used to wear that very word on his golf shirts for all the world, city and country, to see.) But rather than successor, I see Boo as a new member. Daly, despite his on-course slump, isnt going anywhere, no matter how long that slump continues. I saw him at a TaylorMade/Maxfli event in Augusta, and he not only remembered me, he gave me a big hug and we asked about each others children. Genuine, to be sure. My only hope for John is that his great big appetites let him stay with us for a long time.
So next time you meet some video-making whiteneck who thinks golf is a sport of types, tell him hes right. Its for all types.
That includes patriotic types. Heres an e-mail I just got that represents the state of your generosity with golf equipment for our soldiers overseas:
After seeing your story about golf balls in Iraq, I took your thoughts and asked what a little Golf Association in Fredericksburg, Texas could do to help out with your plea. So, as President of the Super Senior Golf Association at Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course, I told the membership about what I saw on the GOLF CHANNEL and asked if we wanted to get involved and help out our troops.
I must say, I have made a new friend in Chaplain Tim Kersten. [Kersten is the replacement for Capt. David Sifferd, the chaplain with whom this story began last September. Capt. Sifferd has been rotated home. ' AB] He is a fellow Texan and we have been communicating by e-mail.
Attached is the e-mail I received Tuesday afternoon advising the clubs and balls had arrived in Iraq:
They've started to arrive in force as of today's mail run! It's great...and attached are some pictures of some soldiers from our Task Force and our Commander as well. Thank you so much for your faithful efforts on behalf of our soldiers! Trusting you have a great tournament. The Lord's continued blessing...
Timothy P. Kersten
Chaplain (CPT) USAR
PSYOP Task Force 10 ' Iraq
Tim further stated they were not only using our clubs, but were palletizing a set with golf balls to send to the troops at Camp Speicher in Tikrit. From there they will spread out to our other troop locations as feasible.
Thanks for letting me boast a little about a 50 member Senior Golf Group, and a bunch of great Americans. -- Bob Henke, Fredericksburg, Texas
Thanks, folks, and keep it up.