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Rick Reilly
February 15, 1993
Playing in the AT&T at Pebble Beach, the author soon discovered, was a lot tougher than writing about it
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February 15, 1993

S.o.s. From The At&t

Playing in the AT&T at Pebble Beach, the author soon discovered, was a lot tougher than writing about it

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"You gonna play Sunday?"

"Let's get serious and play on Sunday for once, huh?"

If you play on Sunday, it means that of the 180 teams entered, yours is one of the 25 to make the Saturday-night cut. Jack Lemmon has not made it to a Sunday for 20 straight years. At one tournament party Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood, Dan Quayle and Donald Trump went unnoticed by the poor saps who were trying to figure out the key to making Sunday. "It took me five years to learn this," one man told me. "Forget your total score. Just make 10 pars." I asked him how many Sundays he had ever played. "None."

Trixler, 35, my partner for the week, was a touring pro from San Mateo, Calif. Oh, I know, some people might want Curtis or Payne or Fred, but there are a lot of us out on the Tour like Trixler, guys who have to arm-wrestle the marshals for every birdie they get, guys who have lost their cards more often than their keys. Guys who know what a rigged game golf is. Ask yourself this: Does Michael Jordan get to shoot his free throws from eight feet? Does Kirby Puckett take his pitches from second base? Why then do golf stars get the best tee times and the "c" category players, like Trixler, get the worst? Why should a Trixler have to putt greens that look like they just hosted an Arthur Murray class?

It is such a disadvantage to be a "c" category player that this year one of the penalties the Tour will hand out for slow play is a "c" category tee time. What did guys like Trixler do to get penalized?

"Do you know how many times I've had some guy on a Toro lawnmower on my butt as the sun is going down and I'm trying to make a six-footer to make the cut?" says Trixler. "The marshals? When Greg Norman comes through, they're wide-eyed and alert, all ready to watch exactly where his ball goes. But by the time I come through at six o'clock, they're snoozing, sunburned, tired. They've had nothing to cat or drink. And you say, 'You didn't happen to see where my ball went, did you?' And they say, 'Get bent.' "

Trixler is also the funniest thing in pants. When he is playing horribly, he will say, "God, I'm playing well. I'm hitting it sooooo good. I've got tickets for the doubleheader Saturday." Once he hit a perfect shot that flew the green. Later he described it to a friend this way: "I'm pumped. I flag a four-iron. I'm posing. Every shutter in the place is releasing on me. The world at my feet. Then, goodbye, gone, see ya. Does the word alcoholism mean anything to you?"

Great guy, Trix. Besides, I tried to get Fred, Curtis or Payne. They were taken.

As tough as it is for us out here on the Tour, I have to say we are treated with a modicum of human decency. Most players get courtesy cars, usually brand-new Buicks. There is a nutritious breakfast waiting for us at the driving range. And, best of all, there arc hordes of fully grown men waiting to give us free things when we come out to play. The balls, clothes and clubs are free. A man from Titleist gave me two dozen balls free, someone from U.S.T. shafts offered to reshaft me, and some guy from Founders metal woods gave me a very fresh three-wood—all at absolutely no cost. I really considered pitching a tent on the range and leaving it at that. Two-Down was agog at all this.

It quickly became apparent that choosing an old pal as my caddie was perhaps not a wise move. Two-Down does not do bibs well. He had never caddied before in his life. The gambling jones is incurable in him. For instance, here's what he carried in his so-called rain-delay kit: five sets of dice, three minibottles of Scotch, a juggling book, moonwalking instructions, Sam Snead's guide to golf hustling, a bottle of Brain Pep and a miniroulette wheel. The man is a walking pigeon trap.

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