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THE WAGER
Rick Reilly
June 17, 1996
In a new novel the first muni player to finagle a round at the ritzy Mayflower Club takes all
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June 17, 1996

The Wager

In a new novel the first muni player to finagle a round at the ritzy Mayflower Club takes all

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"Wait a moment!" he finally said. "You could still play here! I could rearrange a few lessons and play with you!"

"Oh, no," said Dannie. "That would be too much to ask...."

"No, no," said the pro. "I insist. The group should play in Dr. Dingsby's memory!"

And within five minutes, the threesome was standing on the first tee of the Mayflower Club with their white-overalled caddies, about to play the finest course in all of Massachusetts, maybe the finest in the country. Dannie placed a peg in the ground with delight and prepared to tee off. "I am sure Dr. Dingsby is looking down at us now and smiling," she said.

"I'll sure miss him," said Cementhead. "And I'll bet all the fine people here who have been his patients will too."

That is when the expression on the head pro's face did a 180. His bottom lip sort of fell off his mouth and his eyebrows started sinking toward his nose. He walked in front of Dannie, picked her ball off the tee, put it in his pocket and faced the three of them.

"Dr. Dingsby," said the pro, "was a vet."

Ray tries to win the bet by moonlight. Taking along Ponky's worst player, Hoover ("We called him that because he very much sucked"), and the rotund Crowbar (who never actually plays, just watches and comments incessantly), he drives a cart out to the hole in the hedge, and they crawl through to the Mayflower side. The threesome plays the 2nd through the 18th hole. Hoover, in fact, is having the round of his life. Ray needs to play only the 1st hole to win, but a lanky guard asleep in a cart not far from the tee box wakes up, spots them in the fairway and gives chase.

They screamed up to Ray's ball in the right rough. While still driving, he reached back and grabbed an iron. It turned out to be a five. Too much club, but Ray could make it work. He screeched to a stop. He took one little knock-down swing at it, and the ball knifed toward the green, only left. Didn't matter. The guard was 100 yards back. Ray floored it over to Hoover's ball. Ray knew he should've just finished his ball out, won the bet and dived for the hole, but he couldn't bear to not let Hoover finish. He had played so well.

Hoover's ball was right in the middle of the fairway, a 250-yard drive.

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