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April 15, 1997
Over and Under and Through

Well, unless you've been living under a rock the last few days, or you've killed yourself with poison Jell-o in anticipation of being spiritually transformed into a being on a higher plane of existence, you're aware of the big, major story in sports. Yes, of course I'm talking about Tiger Woods, who on Sunday, became the youngest chinese woman ever to win the Masters. The Masters, as the golf-tormented among you know, is the only tournament in professional golf where the players do not compete for money, but instead for various pieces of garishly colored clothing which don't match anything. This is what makes it so exciting that Ms. Woods was able to acheive what is considered the highest plateau in golf at the young age of twelve.

Ms. Woods came from a modest home in South Florida, where her father spent long hours delivering chinese food to ungrateful humor columnists with neutered cats. During her difficult childhood, she got strength from her father, who would continually encourage her to dream high, and then follow through with courage and strength, so that one day, she could tell the White Man to stick a chopstick up his ass.

But seriously, folks. We all know who this "Tiger" (named after a large cat) really is, and what he did last weekend. He went on a golf course, a place that throughout history has been the domain primarily of really old guys smoking cigars and throwing clubs into the lake, and beat everybody else. And I mean "beat" in the sense of, he could have taken a large rubber mallet, and repeatedly slammed it over the heads of all the other golfers until they all lay in one big, weeping, wounded, cigar-smoking heap, and they all probably still would have preferred that to what actually happened.

To give you a sense of how much better he was than everybody else, the second place score was six under ("six under" refers to how quickly the competitor was able to get the hell off the golf course, which is of course the main goal of playing golf). Tiger finished up with the astounding score of one hundred and seventy-three under, and was only on the golf course for a total of four minutes and fifteen seconds, a new world's speed record.

He was so good, in fact, that he beat everybody else that ever played in that tournament. Some of the records he broke were, lowest overall score, highest margin of victory, and the most times a half-black, half-Taiwanese person has ever been called "African-American" on national television.

Even more amazing was the fact that he was able to accomplish these amazing accomplishments in the face of his amazingly accomplished opponents, who were attempting to block his new, shiny accomplishments with their own old, outdated, boil-covered accomplishments, which had been repeatedly stuck back together with duck tape. On a number of occasions, I saw Tiger's partner scream, "Tiger! Look behind you!" and then kick his ball away from the cup while he wasn't looking.

And while he was being subjected to all of this, he was also forced to deal with his rampant alcoholism, as he continued to pound down beer after beer, hole after hole, stopping only to use the ball washers as urinals. Many of them quit immediately after the tournament and insisted that mechanical ball washers be installed for any future tournaments.

The most important part of this event, though, (and I know this to be true, because the television announcers said stuff about it while they started to play that Golf Lullaby music that they play when they're about to go to commercials) is what an inspiration Tiger was. The announcers insisted on continually gushing on and on about his strong mind, his courageous heart, his fortuitous spleen, and his well-mannered right lung. "It is Tiger," they said, "who will revolutionize golf, and really serve to spark interest in this otherwise deadly dull, boring, ridiculous sport." I, for one, think this is wonderful, for as you know if you golf, no matter what day, or what time of day it is, you can be assured of always getting right on any golf course you'd care to choose. Yes, the golf courses of America are virtually unexplored territory, and it's about darned time we started getting out there and using them!

I'm being silly, of course, and not just because that's what I'm paid to do. [Ed Note: You're not paid to do that.] Oh yeah. But anyway, my point was that if you want to golf in today's world, you must either:

  • Sign up weeks in advance, and then show up several hours before your tee-time, sit around trying to look impatient, and try to make louder "impatient" noises than the other ninety-four hundred people who are trying to make their own "impatient" noises, all while pounding down beer after beer.

  • Take Jack Nicklaus hostage.
Note, I'm not recommending or condoning either of these options. Except maybe the second one.

So you see, I think it sucks that Tiger's going to spark so much interest in the sport. There's way too much interest in it to begin with. Some would argue that any interest in a sport which mainly consists of walking and shouting expletives is way too much.

And then there's the whole racial issue. I heard someone say that it would be great if Tiger could "bring golf to the inner-city." Yes, right now I'm envisioning a day when you'll be able to stroll down the middle of any inner-city street in America, and find an 18-hole golf course on every corner.

But there is something to be said for his accomplishments, and what they mean to the future of race relations and the enlightenment of the ignorant masses in our society. I think the feelings that are being expressed throughout the white community are best summarized by the thoughts of a man who I interviewed at a local country bar shortly after the tournament ended:

"Great, now all we have left is hockey."
Yes, I can feel society being enlightened already. Either that or society's sun-roof just broke.

(Just a note here, you'll notice that this issue contains my first "field interview". Unfortunately, I was forced to make it up, since there's no way I would ever set foot into a local country bar.)

Say, you didn't actually sit there and watch golf all weekend, did you?

Yes, I did, and I'll tell you why. First of all, watching golf on television is not nearly as annoying as actually golfing, mainly for the fact that there's no big fat guys with golf bags larger than most single family homes saying things like "That's goin' left!" when you shank the ball all the way over onto the fairway of a completely different golf course. Golf would be a much more palatable sport to me if there were no people allowed on the course. Then we could all just sit at the clubhouse, pounding beer after beer, trying to chuck the cans into the trashbin. Except I tried that once and missed, and this big fat guy next to me said "That's goin' left!" So to show him how skilled I actually was at golf, I went to my car, got my clubs, rented a cart, put my golf shoes on, and then hit him in the head with my five iron.

But the main reason I watched golf is because I am mesmerized by the television broadcasts. The even, soothing tones of the announcers letting us know that everything is right with the world, and there is no evil, and Dan Aykroyd does not actually have his own sitcom.

Favorite Moment Runner-Up: Tiger hits one past the green and into the gallery (golf term for "where to drink your beer"), where the ball strikes and injures one of the spectators. Sitting at home, you're getting all nervous and scared that this innocent person might have been seriously wounded, but the announcer calmly quips, "Surely a treasured bruise." Ahhh. Everything is OK. Smiles, everyone! Smiles! (Meanwhile, several ambulances are charging over the practice green in a rush to save the victim's life, running over crowds of other spectators.)

Favorite Moment: On the tee of the last hole of the last round, with the pressure built up so far that even the announcers had started saying "I can't look! Where did it go!", Tiger hit a monster drive. Unfortunately, the monster he hit was Godzilla, who was sitting several fairways over, pounding beer afer beer. Immediately after making his swing, Tiger spun around and blurted out "Goddammit!", his attention having been distracted by someone taking a picture during his backswing. It wouldn't have been so bad, except the photographer was also saying, "OK, back to the left now a little, work those hips, c'mon, show me what I wanna see!" during the backswing.

"Yikes!" the television audience gasped in shock, fearing that this great man, this inspiration to people with no lives and way too much money everywhere, had actually shouted out a "bad word" during his greatest moment. Fortunately, the announcer, like some Superman who had been pounding beer after beer, flew in to save us, and while they were showing a slow-motion replay (which made it look a lot like Tiger was saying "Gooooddaaaaammmiiiiitt!"), quelled our anxiety by saying, "Here Tiger is saying 'Pleaaase.'"

Saved again, and we could all go on with our lives. God bless the TV golf announcer. Goddammit.

If your reaction to all of these events was anything like mine, you were certainly thinking, "Hey, I wonder who would win in a fight, Godzilla or Superman?" Perhaps we'll have to wait for the British Open to find that out.

Anyway, since the weekend's events, all we are hearing about now is what a terrific thing this is for golf, and how it will revolutionize the sport, and how Tiger is the next Jack Nicklaus, except without a dumb animal nickname. They just babble on and on about how this is the biggest sports story in this generation, and how amazing it is that this young punk can come in and basically tell all the other players "You suck," and then show it to them. How Tiger is someone we should all admire because of his maturity, his skill, his professionalism, outclassing everyone else in his field in all of these areas, blah blah blah. "Oh," they say, "this is just about the coolest friggin' thing ever."

Well, they're probably right.

This page and the contents therein are copyright (C) 1997, by Ben Parrish. Don't mess with it. Or I'll throw food at you.