Watching young Roy McIlroy destroy the golf course at Congressional today was impressive. It also took me back to many contrasting golf memories. Like Charlie Willet’s cigar-stub swallowling collapse on #6 of the back four at the Delta, Colorado Municipal Golf course in the early 1970s. I was around thirteen-years-old and caddying for my dad when I remember Mr. Willet, the attorney in my dad’s regular foursome, missing a two-foot put and losing a third consecutive hole. He cussed angrily, swallowed his cigar stub and gagged, then casually headed off for the little bridge over the canal that led to #7. He paused on the bridge and unceremoniously dumped his entire golf bag of clubs into the canal. My dad whispered an intense “NO!” as my brother and I prepared to go for the clubs.
Tim Atmar, a golfing buddy of mine during college, is the source of many un-PGA-like memories, like the time he rolled a golf cart we were riding in while speeding crazily down a fairway in a blinding rain at Morris Williams golf course near the old airport in Austin, Texas. After retrieving the clubs strewn up and down the fairway and attempting the straighten the bent golf cart canopy, we ditched the cart 100 yards from the club house and made a beeline for the parking lot.
Tim also shares a great story of watching under-talented retirees teeing off at Pebble Beach. My favorite is that of an elderly gentleman in full neon-bright golf attire slicing his initial tee shot so wildly on the first hole that his ball left the tee box at a 90 degree angle and rocketed right through the window of one of the high-priced bungalows lining the fairway. As Tim tells it, the man replaced his driver in his golf bag and marched off down the fairway as if nothing had gone wrong.
Man, I love golf.