- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
I value his presence for the simple, un-Zenlike reason that it's always comforting to have someone around who's worse than you. The first time he swung a club at a golf ball, Deepak told us, he hit a seven-iron 140 yards to within a foot of the hole. "I was hooked," he proclaimed. "Since then, it's been progressively downhill, but I'm still hooked."
We finish at five under, nowhere near the money but grateful for the time in one another's company.
I am still humming The Crawdad Song--to which we square-danced, following the barbecue--when the shuttle drops us off beside the 16th hole. A lone bagpiper is playing. The path to the tee is lined with luminaries, the green is encircled by them. The pin is radiant with taped-on glow sticks. Liveried waiters circulate with glasses of Scotch. Don't mind if I do.
Our task: to reenact the nocturnal lunacy of Michael Murphy and Shivas Irons. In perhaps the most memorable scene in Golf in the Kingdom the new friends trespass under cover of darkness onto a fictional links called Burningbush. Using a primitive club and balls--a baffy spoon and featheries--they play the notorious 13th hole, an uphill par-3 whose green can be reached only by carrying a field of gorse called Lucifer's Rug.
"Gowf is a way o' makin' a man naked," says Shivas Irons. We handle our nudity differently. Hitting glow balls, we have a 150-yard, downhill shot. The club pro, Rob Weizer, goes first, launching a gorgeous tracer that homes in on the pin. The guy on the green radios up the good news: "Three and a half feet!" No one comes closer.
Of the 40 or 50 people who take a cut, I see only one whiff, more than a few banana slices and a multitude of hooks. "True gravity pulls left," declares one member of the Shivas Irons Society, having hooked his ball into the barranca.
Another Society member, the urologist from Amarillo, Texas, startles us before his shot by hopping on one foot, then the other, while caterwauling at the moon (reprising a preswing ritual favored by Shivas Irons). "I'm a showman," the urologist explains.
Thirty or so braver souls have taken their hacks by the time I address my ball. Leaving the barbecue, the Shoe had told me this: The glow balls don't fly as far, so club up. I'm holding a six-iron. All I remember is my joy--and relief--at seeing the ball soar in a glorious arc toward the green.
Everyone is allowed two shots. Even before hearing the measurement--"Five feet," crackles the voice on the radio--I know I won't be teeing up a second. That unstruck ball stays in my pocket and now rests on my desk, where it no longer glows but retains the power to remind me of the good things that can happen when we get out of our own way.