SI Vault
Dan Jenkins
August 16, 1965
Goat Hills is gone now. It was swallowed up almost four years ago by the bulldozers of progress, and in the end it was nice to learn that something could take a divot out of those hard fairways. But all of the regular players had left long before. We had grown up at last. Maybe it will be all right to talk about the place now, and about the people and the times we had. Maybe it will be therapeutic. At least it will help explain why I do not play golf so much anymore. I mean, I keep getting invited to Winged Head and Burning Foot and all those fancy clubs we sophisticated New Yorkers are supposed to frequent, places where, I hear, they have real flag sticks instead of broom handles. It sounds fine, but I usually beg off. I am, frankly, still over golfed from all those years at Goat Hills in Texas. You would be, too, if.... Well, let me tell you some of it. Not all. I will try to be truthful and not too sentimental. But where shall I begin? With Cecil? Yeah, I think so. He was sort of a symbol in those days, and...
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
August 16, 1965

The Glory Game At Goat Hills

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Somehow Magoo and I wound up as partners, and this was bad. Magoo was a good player, but he was unlucky. Once in the Glen Garden Invitation across town—that is the course where Hogan and Nelson caddied as kids—he hit a fine shot to a difficult green and found the ball in a man's mouth, being cleaned. Things like that happened to Magoo. Only this time, all the way around, it did not seem to matter. Frankly, we played superbly.

We birdied so many holes between us that Moron Tom, each time either of us swung, said, "Cod Ee-rack Fockle-dim!" That was his pronunciation of Doc Cary Middlecoff spelled backward, and a compliment. Sometimes Moron Tom said, "Wod Daw-ret-snif," which was Dow Finsterwald, and a cry of doom.

As we came off the 17th green, having birdied every hole since the 13th, Magoo and I calculated that if we could simply par the 18th we would not be able to get the money home in Cecil the Parachute's cooky truck. With all of the double and triple presses, it was up to around $600, at least. And there was blood everywhere.

"Ain't this somethin'?" said Foot. "Man's gonna be took to Dump City by two clutch artists." Meaning us.

"Come off this, Magoo," said Rush. "Man, you're supposed to be standin' in line to give up."

Magoo said, "I don't guess anybody wants a young press to get even, do they?"

There were a few sarcastic snarls. The get-even press was automatic, of course.

Easy Reid said, "Oh, Lordy. I don't want the prize, I just want to get my hand out of the box."

The 18th was an easy par-4. You drove from a windy knoll, with the wind helping, to a wide, wide fairway across a creek and an embankment. There was always a tendency to come out of your shoes at the ball because there was so little danger, and a big drive would leave you with only a 50-yard wedge shot to the green. The only conceivable trouble was far to the right, beyond the bordering 10th fairway, where Stadium Drive was out of bounds. In all my years I never saw anyone slice that badly—only Magoo when Moron Tom spoke to him for all that money.

At the top of Magoo's backswing, Moron Tom quietly said, "Tissim, Oogam," which of course was "Miss it, Magoo" backwards, and my poor partner sliced out of bounds. Well, we had to laugh about the irony of it. Once again Magoo had blown the Open. And there could be no protest. Needles were common. Sneezing, coughing, dropping a full bag of clubs on a player's back-swing were part of it. Normally, it was something you ignored.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10