I was abducted by aliens. Golf aliens.
Well, not abducted, really. Kind of commandeered. The creatures waited until I had gotten home with the usual gallon of 2% milk, and when I reemerged to check the mailbox, they nabbed me and took me to their ship. I was groggy ' they had overpowered me by reading a paragraph from a recent Dan Jenkins column ' but I think the ship was constructed in the shape of a giant Great Big Bertha II.
Once inside, I got a look at my captors. They were mostly pear-shaped. I got the idea they were largely perimeter weighted. They had roundish faces topped with golf hats, all bearing patches that said things such as 4001 U.S. Open. Their hands were blistered, as if they had been hitting a lot of balls. They wore Softspikes.
The inside of their enormous driver-ship was filled with easy chairs, televisions, and little refrigerators. On every monitor, Jim Nantz or Dan Hicks or Mike Tirico appeared. (Well, OK, one had Brian Hammons.)
One of the aliens, apparently the leader, sat me down and fixed me with a look.
We dont intend to hit you out of bounds. We have lifted you, and we promise when we are done to clean you and place you. We have many questions.
I politely refused whatever cleaning they had in mind and asked to simply be replaced next to my mailbox, with no penalty strokes for anyone involved, secret safe with me and all that stuff. No dice.
I am Niblick. We are from the planet Links, a galactic par 5 away. We must have some questions answered. We have seen your broadcasts on our satellite. You can help.
I was incredulous. What, wasnt Iron Chef on? I stammered.
Enough. Tell us, why does gender disturb the serenity of your golf on this planet? Niblick demanded.
Oh, that. Well, some people object to a private and exclusive club holding one of our most important championships, I said.
The Linksians looked at each other. What means private? Niblick said.
But with all the attention to that issue, Niblick continued, growing heated, and with people protesting the Burk womans right to protest, and the guys in the white hoods, and Jesse Jackson ' what planet is he from? ' will anyone care about the tournament?
Well see in a few weeks, I suppose.
Hmm. I dislike your answer, Niblick said. It lacks focus. Let us try another subject. Why do some Earthlings blame technology for all the games woes, while some forget about the effects of increased fitness, improved technique and better mowing? Why do so many chafe at regulation? Cant anyone down here manage multi-factor analysis? And what about the difference between elite players and recreational golfers?
Well, thats complicated, I said. It involves considerations of different players ideas of what golf is, and economic pressure that manufacturers have to deal with, all juxtaposed against the missions of the regulatory bodies.
Do not say words like juxtaposed. It gives us migraines, Niblick said. Is no compromise possible? Do not Earthling golf companies and regulators worry about showing only dissension and disagreement to those who they wish to adopt the game?
Say, why dont you kidnap one of them?
Hush! We shall return to gender. What is the big ' how do you people say it ' hoopla about that charming woman who wishes to play a tournament with the men of your planet?
Oh, you mean Annika Sorenstam? Well, she has risen to the pinnacle of her sport, and now she wants to test her skills against players she wouldnt ordinarily play with.
This seems to be a problem for some of your male Earthlings.
Has been since King versus Riggs, yes.
Never mind, I said.
We are no less confused than when we came to your planet. We shall deposit you by your dwelling now.
Oh, good. Hey, could you kind of coast in so as not to wake up the ki '
Silence! We have one more question. That putting device Scott Hoch used to win Doralthe Futura. Where can we get 500 million of them?
Well, I can give you Scotty Camerons number.
Oh, its his? No problem. Hes in our cells.
You guys have cell phones?
No, in our cells. You wouldnt understand.
And with that, I found myself unceremoniously dropped onto the ninth green at Bay Hill. I started the long walk home.