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Mack the Hack
October 11, 2004
Passion collides with real and imagined torments during one afflicted man's quest to discover the secret to the game
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October 11, 2004

Mack The Hack

Passion collides with real and imagined torments during one afflicted man's quest to discover the secret to the game

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Sadly, by that time I also had manic-depression disorder in a big way, and the biochemical pranks going on upstairs in my coconut were no match for the things golf had in store for me. Some of you might remember me as the Screamin' Scotsman as I thrashed my way around courses in Little Egypt during the early to mid-'90s at the height of my tragic golf addiction.

Prelude to Doom

I should've listened to my team of mental-health professionals when they advised me that the only known cure for the diabolical Locked Address malady that dogged me around the links was to lock the clubs in a closet for three months or more--a fate worse than death, I thought. Then things came to a bizarre end on a cold December day in 1995 at Misty River Golf Club in Mount Vernon, Ill.

Misty River was my favorite golfing spread, mostly because the course's genius designer saw fit to ignore the Sierra Club and construct 18 fine holes without using any of those darn things that my shots were drawn to, like a bee is drawn to flowers. They call them trees. Then there was my love-hate relationship with the tricky par4 16th hole, a nasty little creation that required a layup off the tee unless one dared to attempt the 300-yard carry over water. The 16th was relatively short, and the lure was always there, but I'd never try for the long carry with anything other than a second ball that wouldn't count on my scorecard.

There was no snow on the course that day, but the pro still thought I was nuts for wanting to brave the 10� windchill. What he had forgotten was that I'm a tough-as-nails Scot and that Old Tom Morris had been whispering more and more into my ear. The pro pocketed my $5 and, as he shook his head sadly, said I could play all day if I wanted, but the clubhouse was closed. (He didn't want me walking in on the high-stakes poker game going on in there.) As he was locking the clubhouse door from inside, I heard one of the poker players yell out, "You'd better run that crazy Screamin' Scotsman off the property!"

Yep, if he had run me off not only would my best round of golf not have happened, but also my third admission to a mental hospital would've been avoided. Rub of the green, I guess.

Too Much, Too Soon

Over the years I've often spoken about that magic round on that chilled December day, and nobody who played with me back then believes me. Everyone prefers to remember me as the volcanic dude who would blow up for a 9 and a 15 on the last two holes if that's what it took to butcher a decent score, but it was oh-so-different on that grand day in '95. Most every shot was struck pure and sweet and tracked like a Patriot missile to where I was aiming. Plenty of horrid ghosts were still in the machine, but it was evident that an evolutionary coup d'etat for the good was happening within my golfing DNA.

Hell's bells, I could've shot an 82 that glorious day, but my euphoria over my near flawless ball-striking left me with no patience for such petty matters as grinding over putts. In the past I had almost gained entrance to the promised land of wayward duffers on numerous occasions, only to leave the course with my head hung low in shame after another bout of Locked Address malady. But on that December day, I kid you not, I truly had the right stuff. I really shot a 93. That's right, I broke 100!

A Little Levity, Please

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