So Andres Romero wins New Orleans and everyone says, 'Did you hear about Bubba and Elkington!?'
OK, I know you want the REAL story. I'll give it to you as best as I can without getting my friends too angry at me.
First let me start by talking about the scoring area. Every tournament has what's called a scoring 'trailer, where the players go to sign there scorecards. There's a PGA TOUR official inside so any disputes can be talked over with. Every tournament has a trailer, looks like a single wide (to my redneck friends) with no windows ' except in New Orleans.
Nope, in the Big Easy it's an all plexi-glass enclosure that looks like a PGA TOUR fish tank. Well, when the rumors of Bubba Watson and Steve Elkington had spread through the course faster than a Britney Spears/Paris Hilton sighting, the scoring area looked like an episode of Jerry Springer. Eight camera crews! About 30 reporters (me and another XM reporter there, too). Man, you should've seen the jockeying for position by the camera guys trying to get up against the windows to get a shot of the discussion going on in there. So here's how it almost came down to a Battle in the Bayou.
Steve Elkington, Bubba Watson, and Shigeki Mariyama are playing together for the first two rounds. Trouble began when it seemed that when Bubba was ready to hit Elk would do something like take off his glove; mess with his clubs; or even worse, start walking. Now these might not seem like things that would warrant getting cursed out, but any of you who have had to deal with guys doing these things know exactly how they can drive you nuts, especially when a player is grinding to make the cut.
Two things you have to know: first, none of that stuff seemed to happen when Shigeki was about to play. And second, Bubba is a lefty. What that means is the other golfers and caddies in his group have to be very aware of where they stand and when they move. Ever play with a lefty and you spend the first nine holes putting the golf cart at the wrong spot? Yeah, Im that lefty!
Anyway, by Day 2 it was starting to come to a head. Elk was playing great; Bubba was struggling to make the cut. Then on the fourth hole a cameraman backed Elk off a shot and he snapped at the guy. Bubba and his caddie shared a look like, 'ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!' On the eighth hole, Bubba drives the green and three putts for par. Now the steam is coming out of his ears like a kettle left too long on the stove. Bubba can already look like a cat in a dog pound every now and then and on 10 it happened.
Bubba hammers his tee ball into the rough but WAY past Elk and Shigeki. They both hit first and as Bubba stands over his second, Elks starts moving around. Bubba snapped. No player, even a 20-year veteran and major champion like Steve, wants to make a fellow pro snap. Even if (which I don't think is the case) he was 'messing' with him a little bit. Now when they get to 10 green Elk wants to apologize to Bubba. He goes to put his arm around Bubba's shoulder, but by then it's too late ' redneck rampage has already taken hold!
One more curse out and now Steve is getting mad because hes getting cursed out on TV.
Steve tells 'someone' he will not be signing Bubba's scorecard when they finish and by the time that got around the course... Let the melee at the 18th scoring trailer begin!
Steve walks in first, waits for Bubba, then throws the scorecard down, turns to the official and says, 'I am not signing this.' Two minutes later head official Arvin Ginn shows up and the 'discussion' happens. Arvin comes out first, goes over to Roger Maltbie and says it's a dead issue with the TOUR. It's resolved and that's it, no further comment.
Now Steve comes out: 'No comments for everyone,' was his comment.
Then Bubba comes out, says he'll talk, and offers public apologies to EVERYBODY (the tournament; sponsors; fans; Steve; Shigeki; hell, even the caddies). He takes full responsibility for what happened on the course, even says he and Steve 'do what men do... hugged it out.'
It takes a big man to step up and say hes sorry, especially out here with the megalomaniac egos we all have.
Apology accepted dude, even if it wasn't all your fault.
Woody Austin, by the way, gets the No. 2 award for manning up in New Orleans, when he came out of scoring and said, 'I choked and when I do I'm man enough to say it.' Love you, too, Woody!
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