But nobody wants
to go back home from a celebrity tournament and tell people, "You know who
I played golf with? This old boy named Ray Blump or something, who, if he'd
ever been married to Madonna and kidnapped by terrorists and named to the U.S.
Supreme Court, would be as famous as you please."
So I just had to
go with my poor fame and poor game that had got me there. "You've got a
good swing," a club pro named Danny Berrier from Knoxville, Tenn., told me.
"You've got the worst grip I've ever seen and the worst address I've ever
seen, and you've got the worst backswing I've ever seen, and you've got shoes
on that cause you to shift forward a couple of inches as you come through, but
you've got a good swing."
I wound up not
playing very well at all. What I was able to do, though, was this: I fell back
on country music. I decided, as I trod the out-of-bounds trying to find the
people who were trying to help me find my ball, that I could ease my misery by
expressing it in terms of country songs.
A lot of people
don't associate country music with golf. But Willie Nelson has his own course,
where the rules include:
?No more than 12
to a foursome.
?Par is how you
feel that day.
change-jingling or wind-letting on the greens.
? USGA rules apply
except where you can think of something better.
?If you land in
some rocks, you can pick your ball up and walk it over to the grass. This is
called "putting the Pedernales Stroll on it."
pertinently, Chet Atkins is country music's premier guitar player, father of
the Nashville Sound and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Ray
Stevens, Archie Campbell and Billy Edd Wheeler are big country music figures.
Billy Edd Wheeler wrote Jackson. And Johnny Bench can sing any song Ray Stevens
ever wrote. If it had been the Zubin Mehta Celebrity Golf Classic, I might have
been out of luck. But country music has helped me through a great many crises.
Either by making me feel better or by making me feel so much worse that it was