Hi there, all you guys on the PGA tour with a putter in one hand, the keys to a courtesy car in the other, a practice bag between your knees and a Big Mac in your mouth. How's the dry-cleaning service over by the bowling alley in the shopping center next to the high-rise apartments built around the ice rink? Right there where you turn left on Route 542 at the pancake house on your way to the second round of the $200,000 Equity Funding Classic at Preston Heaven Golf, Tennis, Dancing & Condominium Sales Country Club, where Bob Barbarossa clings to a one-stroke lead over Forrest Fezler and Artie McNickle? How's it going? I was just sitting here reflecting on things like the Campeonato Internacional Abierto de Golf de Espa�a—that translates into the Spanish Open, Arnold—and dwelling on the wine and the sidewalk caf�s and the Mediterranean and the whole European golf circuit and, listen, I was wondering if any of your double-knits had come unraveled?
Excuse me a minute. Yes, Anselmo. More wine. It goes well with the jagged coast and the old lighthouse and the hills around Cabo de Palos. The golf is beyond the hills, no? Today they play the golf and tonight they eat the lamb. Is it not true, Anselmo? An Englishman says we must have "sips and dins with the Elegantini." Quite fun, he says. What of the Elegantini, Anselmo? Is Piero really a count? Was Valent�n really a matador? Is Constantine still a king? Who is Coco? Go well, my friend. Go fast and true while I look out at the sea. And don't forget the wine.
This letter could be a problem, seeing as how I tend to daydream. If you get lost now and then, write me in care of Fred Corcoran or Howard Clark, American Express Pro-Ams, somewhere in a TWA holding pattern over Rome or Madrid, and footnotes will be forwarded. It is primarily their fault that I have kept turning up in all these funny places during the past year or so, and why I shall probably be coming back, having been hooked.
"There's no golf in Europe," I told Corcoran and Clark at first. " Europe is for wars, novelists and perfume."
I reminded them that golf is played in Akron, Pensacola, Laurel Valley and Tallahassee. Biarritz was for Napoleon, and Crans-sur-Sierre was for skiers. La Manga was a thing on a tree or a vine, largely eaten by the natives, and Rome was a lot of ruins with pasta machines in the basement.
"Don't give me any of this French Open, Swiss Open, Spanish Open, or Campionato Internazionale Open d'Italia stuff," I said. Which I think is the Italian Open in Berlitz.
They only smiled and gave me preferential starting times in the Pro-Ams.
At first it was work. Do you think for a moment that it is easy to tell a Gallardo and a Garrido of Spain from a Garaialde of France? A Barrios of Spain from a Barras of Switzerland? A Bernardini from a Grappasonni in Italy? A Dorrestein of Holland from a Kugelm�ller of Germany? Do you think it is easy to talk to a European golf federation president?
A European golf federation president wears a dark suit and tie. Usually his family manufactures something that everybody in the country needs. In the glass and concrete opulence of the La Manga clubhouse he came up from my blind side.
"Allow me to say that I am Juan Antonio Andreu," he said.