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Saturday, September 15, 2007

John Daly

Golf has never appealed to me. I guess I've been averse to it ever since my father tried to teach me how to play one ordinary day two decades ago (the air was still, the sun was a yellow glob of phlegm lodged in the tired sky, insects had taken a day off, the sprinklers were spinning dutifully) and had gotten himself into an argument with two youths who had narrowly missed his (my father's) head with a golf ball . As he chased the teenagers - who were around the same age I was - around the course with his golf club, yelling obscenities at them, his face eggplant-purple with rage, I had serious doubts that I'd want to return to this sport.

Public conception has changed a lot since the 80s. It is no longer viewed solely as a leisure activity where dentists can meet other dentists on weekends and where golfers would make derogatory remarks about minorities without fear of reprisals. It is now a sport that can be enjoyed by young people and where black guys are allowed to join clubs. And not just as caddies.

Still, the game itself seems dull to me. I don't know how much excitement I can generate where the main objective of the game is to hit a white ball into a little hole far, far away from where you started. Along the way you try to avoid pits of sand, large bodies of water, bodies floating in the water, alligators, trees, my father's head, land mines, lava pits, gophers and lawyers. That's about it. No body tackles, shoving of any kind and most clubs frown upon anyone brandishing firearms in public. You tally your score at the end of the day, lie about it to your friends and spend the night fuming about the putt/s you missed.

There is a golfer that seems larger than life though, in more than one sense. The man in question is John Daly, who is like the town drunk that happens to be a maestro of his craft. He is too good to be true. A thrice divorced golfer with an estimated $50 to $60 million dollar gambling loss weighing on his flabby shoulders? A chain-smoking, chain-drinking slob who'd rather play slots than practice his swing for a tournament? The guy is like an overweight Happy Gilmore.

Daly takes a quiet moment to assess the situation. And have a smoke. And to keep a weary eye on wandering alligators

The John Daly story I'd like to recount is not the one involving a wife attacking him with a steak knife. It is the one that was told to me by Steve Holt about a week ago.

Some years ago John Daly was winning some comp by a few holes. I don't know which tournament or where. As I said I'm not a golf fan. Pebble Beach? Could be Pebble Beach. It doesn't really matter I guess. So, there's John Daly. Winning the game at Pebble Beach at this stage. His ball has rolled into some shitty place where there's a lake in the way. A lake filled with dangerous alligators. The ball has, I think, rolled into the lake. Or something. The mud near the lake perhaps. John Daly is given the (sensible) option of placing the ball in a better place (i.e. not in mud) but he waves this option. 'I can make this shot,' says John Daly. He swings. The ball rolls an inch. He says a few unprintable things. He is again given the option of moving the ball onto solid ground. John Daly shakes his head. He swings again....

...the ball barely moves.

He swings....

...and screws it up.

John Daly has given the game away by now. His fans are aghast. But still he is at it, still he is determined. Finally...SMACK! He hits the ball squarely and onto the green. 'I f-ckin' knew it!' he roars in triumph.

Why didn't you just KICK the ball in you dumb bastard?

In a world where former greenskeepers probably won't become champions, and guys who obsesses about ice hockey won't take up golf, we will probably have to rely on true sportsmen to fight the good fight for the rest of us. People like John Daly who will not budge to pressure no matter what.


Blogger kyknoord said...

It's good to know there are still some true heroes out there. It's even better knowing that John has resisted the temptation to put on a red speedo and cape and bellow, "THIS IS A PUTTER!!"

3:58 pm  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Happy Gilmore was too much. I'm still waiting for someone to do the bull-ride on their driver like he did. I don't know why golfers don't putt with the handle end of their putter, using it like a snooker cue. A snooker player would never miss a straight shot into a hole.

5:03 pm  
Blogger Fatman said...

Kyknoord- I realise we use the term "hero" a bit liberally these days. On a slow news day the bloke who donates a kidney to an elderly relative or rescues a cat from a tragic fall becomes a hero. On the subject of heroes did you hear that most Americans (according to a poll commissioned by the McCormick Tribune Foundation) would prefer to have MacGyver help them out of a tight spot rather than Indinana Jones or even Aquaman? Well, most people know of my open disdain of Aquaman ('Hey Aquaman we're stuck in a lift.'
'Are...you going to do anything?'
'Nope. Look pal,(lights up cigarette) I can swim fast and I talk to fish.'
'Let's just hope the fire department comes soon.') but I'm surprised about the MacGyver call. Sure, the guy can make a helicopter out of lollipop sticks and rubber bands but I'd have expected someone else.

(List of Problems solved by MacGyver here)

GB- I'm constantly impressed at how quickly you find my new posts. As you may have guessed I only look at the world of blogs once or twice a week and I comment rarely because I never have anything to say. Getting back to your point though, that's not a bad idea. Also the loser of the golf tournament should be forced to jog around the course with his pants around his ankles.

12:28 pm  
Anonymous broadzilla said...

I like golf. Those little windmills, the chip packets and fag-ends in the water hazards - Creepy Overall Guy in the ice-cream stand on the 18th hole. And let's not forget the free pencil at the end.

7:00 pm  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

The trick, Fatman, is the google reader. It tells me when you have a new post and even lets me read it before entering your site. 'RSS feed' has something to do with it.

5:57 am  
Blogger Fatman said...

Broadzilla- The mewling kids, the drunk fathers having a fist fight in the parking lot, the cheap award you get if you pot a hole-in-one...its all coming back to me now.

GB- Ah. So that's the secret. The greatest trick that the gorilla ever pulled was convincing the world he existed everywhere at once.

2:40 pm  

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