Can you believe what happened to PGA Tour player Notah Begay? The Bernalillo County (N.Mex.) District Attorney's office threw him in jail last week, and, get this, they only let him out to work on his golf game 12 hours a day! How's a guy supposed to find time for his facial?
Begay checked into Bernalillo's detention center—a.k.a. Swing Swing—on Feb. 28 following his second DWI conviction in five years. The Nike-sponsored Begay was issued an orange jumpsuit (What? No Swoosh over the number?) and a pair of slippers, and was shown his new luxury box, an eight-by-eight-foot cell.
During his seven-day incarceration Begay spent as much time out of jail as he did in it. He slept and ate breakfast there. (One day it was scrambled eggs, Cream of Wheat, hash browns and fresh fruit.) Then his driver picked him up and took him to his gym to meet his trainer for a workout. After that he went to his house in Albuquerque for lunch, changed into golf clothes and then was off to the University of New Mexico championship course to work on his game with two buddies. He had dinner in the clubhouse grill or at home before being chauffeured back to the can.
Let's see: free room, complimentary breakfast, slippers, courtesy car and golf. That's not jail. That's the Quad Cities Open.
Hey, if you don't have a drinking problem, get one! What do they give you in Albuquerque if you kill a guy, two weeks at Cypress Point? You think the Albuquerque cooler has a frequent-traveler program? Hey, honey, 1,000 more Prison Points and I get a free week at Merion!
Stupid me. I always thought when people talked about correction centers, they were referring to behavior, not grip. You figure they let Begay have his caddie in there, tool Jesse, kindly inform the screws that they can't break me.
Yet Begay, who not only pleaded guilty to the DWI charge but also informed New Mexico authorities of his prior conviction in Arizona, is coming off as a big, wonderful Native American role model in all this. He has been roundly praised in the press as being a "stand-up guy" who is willing to "take his medicine" and "not dodge his responsibility." Uh, wasn't it the "medicine" that got him into all this in the first place?
Kid: Why is Notah a hero, Daddy?
Dad: Well, son, he staggered out of a New Mexico watering hole known as Billy's Long Bar, backed his Ford Expedition into a 1967 Jaguar in the parking lot and didn't skip the country when it was time for the clink.
Kid: Oh, boy, can I get his autograph ?