Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cinderella Story, Outta Nowhere

Back in the day, there were a few Chris Farley SNL skits where he was hosting his own talk show. During the skit, he would always act very nervous and unsure of himself, and end up fumbling all of the questions he was asking his guests. An interview with Paul McCartney would start out with:

“Hey Paul…do…do you mem-remember Beatle-mania?”

Pause.

“Yes, Chris.”

“Tha…that was awesome.”

Pause.

“Thanks.”

“And do you remember wh….when…ummm…when everyone thought you were dead?”

“Yes.”

“That…that was a hoax, huh?”

“Yes, Chris. I wasn’t really dead.”

“Oh. Right.”

At this point, Chris is pissed at himself for screwing up the questions. His face would turn red and he’d start cursing himself out in front of his guest. I think every skit ended up with the special guest consoling Chris, telling him he was doing a great job and he shouldn’t worry about it.

I know this is a bit of an obscure reference, but I think it’s a perfect analogy to how I end up reading greens for people.

“Where do you see this one going Tom?”

“Well…I…umm…the wind is…umm…and the grain on the green…a-and I think it’s 3…no…wait…2 cups outside right.”

The ball misses 2 cups outside right.

“Well that’s funny. That didn’t move at all where you told me it would Tom.”

“Man I suck! That was a GREAT stroke you had there and I…Christ!”

“No, Tom, it’s okay. You’re doing a great job. Really.”

“Oh…really? Oh thanks so much. You’re awesome.”

Maybe not quite to that extent, but I think that would be the best way to explain how I felt inside all day today. Here I am, caddying on a gorgeous spring afternoon, working with a member who requested me and I think I misread almost all of his putts today. Well, all but two of them. And both times, I cheered so loudly afterwards the guys must’ve felt like we had Arnie’s Army following us around.

Help me Dave Pelz! Give me strength Dave Pelz! I smoke rocks!

The only cleansing I received for my sins on the greens came on the par-3 9th. Now I don’t know why he started this tradition, but this particular member always asks me if I would like to “hit up” with the group. Now as a caddie, this is a very precious moment, because if you’re able to hit a good shot, the foursome you’re caddying for forgets all of your mistakes and instantly looks up to you for advice for the rest of the round. Basically, it’s the equivalent of a good approach shot on the 18th hole at Augusta in front of 3,000 people.

The other bonus—again, if I hit a GOOD shot—is that I would be able to tell these guys what the hell was going on with the wind. We were all a little confused as to what might be the right club for this hole. The distance was 183, and I grabbed a 5-iron.

Cinderella story, outta nowhere.

Silence swept over the tee box. That same silence you feel when you’re standing over your first tee shot of the day and you can just SENSE everyone staring at you. The shafts the member had in his irons were a little more flexible than I was used to, so I tried to aim a little further right just in case my adrenaline got the best of me and the ball decided to snap dead left into the water.

Tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this shot.

Right on the back of the green. Thank God.

And sure enough, for the rest of the round, the other players started asking me for more and more advice. I got lucky this time. Hopefully this luck will last until I start seeing some more balls roll and can be a little more confident on the greens.

1 comment:

English Dave said...

Bugger me, Tom, 2 posts in one day? What the hell's going on? Like buses, you wait 6 months with no sign of anything on the horizon, get a flagstick stuck up your arse, then two come along at once. I hate it when that happens ... happens to me all the time.

How the hell does Mr IFA-Player get round in two hours? I consider myself to be a relatively quick player and there's no way I'm getting round in 2 hours for 18 holes, even with a caddy. And why would you even want to, going round your course? If I ever played or walked round there, I would take my time as much as possible, smell the flowers, enjoy the views, take the whole thing in and try to ignore the caddy shitting himself in the woods. Is he Catholic?

“ 'Hey Tom? What do you see here?'
A 7-foot-tall toolbox." That's funny, old pal. Made I laugh.

I wouldn't worry too much about any perceived lack of ability in reading greens. It's bound to come with practice - everything does. When you don't do anything for 6 months or so and then try and pick it up again, you're never going to get it perfect first time. Unless it's riding a bike. I hardly ever fall off them now. And you're always assuming that your player hits an absolutely perfect putt, as well, if you blame yourself for a miss. Chances are, unless you're carrying for a tour pro, they're going to miss-hit or push/pull a lot of their putts slightly. I tend to average around 30-31 putts per round (albeit on a course with pretty small greens) and I can normally count on one hand the number of putts I hit absolutely perfectly. People can't expect to make them from outside of 10 feet all the time unless they're Tiger or someone, I don't reckon. Cut yourself some slack, bud.

I hope your back continues to be pain-free. A couple of years ago, I used to get regular problems with trapping nerves between my spine and the muscles flanking the backbone (according to my doctor) and it was chuffing agony, so I sympathise. I tell you, though, when you can manipulate your back and make your spine crack and pop back into place and the pain go away, isn't that the best feeling in the world? Well, apart from smasshing one 300+ down the middle, spinning a wedge 20 feet backwards and then holing the putt, that is. And sex ... no, wait, it's better than sex. Lasts longer, too.

You hit a 5 iron 183 yards? You pansy. What was it, uphill and into the wind? It had better have been, otherwise I'm calling you a woofter for ever, until I forget in about 5 minutes.

I know what you mean about the pressure that stcks up on one shot - it's ridiculous. I play off 6 and the first hole at our course is a 320 yard par 4 with tons (and I mean tons) of space everywhere, and if there's people watching me, I still shit myself stood on the tee. I'm always pathetically grateful just to to get the ball in the air and going in vaguely the right direction, so having to hit ONE shot in the round in front of friends and people paying you to be there would freak me out. I think I would probably faint or my knees would go from under me and I would end up in a crumpled heap on the ground, still trying to swich the club at the ball. Yeah, OK, maybe you're not such a pansy after all. Allegation retracted.

Lastly, where has the arse flag gone? It disappeared, then it re-appeared on a triumphant although brief re-union tour for the money and now he's gone again. The J is nice, though. Just not as unintentionally funny. I did a Google image search for "arse flag" and got a picture of 3 girls kissing with their tongues hanging out. Put that on the site as your logo, see what it does to your hit count.

I've decided not to comment on the activities of Cheat Penn for now, due to fear of being sued for libel. However, I may not be able to sit on my tongue for ever ... more's the pity.

Stay cool and keep yourself nice. All the best

David