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Get Me Outta Here
Austin Murphy
July 10, 1995
Watching the Golf Channel for 48 straight hours was nearly the undoing of the author
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July 10, 1995

Get Me Outta Here

Watching the Golf Channel for 48 straight hours was nearly the undoing of the author

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My mind is as clear as pea soup. Peter throws open the phone lines, and I crash hard for close to five hours.

10:00 a.m. Grim news upon awakening: High winds have forced the postponement of the third round of the Catalonian. Rather than have Laidlaw and Oosterhuis discuss the wind for two hours—an assignment they would no doubt relish—the network is re-rebroadcasting round 2, which I have seen twice and now know by heart.

High winds continue unabated: Hurricane Mildred slams ashore in my room without warning. Mildred, my 40-ish housekeeper, bursts in without so much as a "fore." As she stands in the doorway regarding the mess in my room, I feel the need to explain myself. "I'm working," I say.

She hears in those words, somehow, an invitation to recount her life's story. "Honey," she says, "tell me about it. When I finish here, I'm driving to Jacksonville. Got a job there with the phone company. Got rid of the husband in '86. Raising the boy by myself. I been whipping him since he was 15. I tell him, 'You can leave your underwear on, all I need is the back of your thighs.' His grandfather told me, 'He's more afraid of you than he is of the police.' "

While emptying my wastebaskets, she asks, "What happened to this door?"

Fear stabs me in the gut. During the night I'd accidently wrenched from its moorings one of the mirrored closet doors while trying to position it so that I could watch Golf Central—for the third time—from the bathtub. (It was cool; everyone was lefthanded.) Now I envision Mildred preparing to inflict corporal punishment on me, assuring me all she needs are the backs of my thighs. "It was like that when I got here," I stammer.

Mildred is gone before it occurs to me to ask her if she subscribes to the Golf Channel.

3:00 p.m. The weekend's most poignant moment awaits. Bill Murchison, a graying, 38-year-old father of eight, strides down the 18th fairway with the Tallahassee Open in the bag. Struggling behind him is his caddie, his 14-year-old, 95-pound daughter, Jennifer. Just off the green we see Murchison's wife, Karen, boxing out like an NBA forward, using each of her limbs to hold back the tide of little Murchisons. In a scene only a greenskeeper could fail to find heartwarming, her husband's victory triggers a tsunami of Murchisons onto the 18th green. "After I paid the hotel this morning," Bill tells Kessler, "we had $300 in our savings. I just really thank God for filling up our tank."

I pride myself on my deep cynicism, but I am really moved by this. It is great TV.

But then it's all downhill for the 3½ hours that remain.

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