- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
AT THE AIRPORT
I should have known that the week of the Crosby Pro-Am was going to be taxing when the mouse nest fell out of my golf bag at the check-in counter at the airport. The clerk at the counter had been very helpful, tying the clubs together with a rope and encasing them in a transparent plastic bag. It was when he tipped the bag over to see if the clubs were secure that the mouse nest fell out.
We stared at the small heap of shavings and string lying on the floor.
"I see that you're ticketed through to Monterey," he said. "Going to the Crosby?"
"That's right," I said. "I played it once, 14 years ago. I'm going back to take another crack at it."
The attendant smiled. "You've really been spending the years getting ready," he said, looking at the mouse nest.
I have ambivalent feelings about my golf game. I play it so rarely that I am not really acquainted with it; indeed, I have thought of my golf game as a distant family relative who may be all right but about whom rumors persist—the sort of person who turns up outside the apartment door and one's wife, peering through the peephole, calls back over her shoulder, "Oh, my God, I think it's your uncle Ted. What shall we do?"
In the first Bing Crosby National Pro-Am I played, in 1966, my golf bag was carried by a diminutive furniture mover named Abe—a somewhat elderly and melancholy local who, wearing the baggy trousers of a top-banana comedian, occasionally worked as a caddie and then, as evening fell, as a collector of golf balls (for resale) that had been lost in the ice plant and among the seaside rocks.
To my astonishment Abe was waiting for me when I arrived to register on Jan. 29, 1980 at the Lodge at Pebble Beach. I was touched that he had turned up, having assumed he had long retired from the golf links. No, not at all. He was living in Salinas now, 20 miles away, but he still drove down to the Peninsula in his camper to caddie and hunt for golf balls. He had heard I was coming to the tournament, and he hoped I would have him back to "pack" my bag. I was delighted.