There was a long pause.
"Orrrr...I'll just continue to miss cuts by 28 shots, play myself off the Tour and become the prep cook at the Des Moines Denny's."
I asked Charles Schulz if, in 42 years, Charlie Brown has ever worn anything but that yellow sweater with the red zigzag stripe. "Yes," he said. "For the first two weeks of the strip, he wore a plain white T-shirt. But then I realized the strip needed more color, so I drew the sweater." Great trivia question.
I decided on Saturday that if Two-Down got any more out of round, I was going to have to put him to sleep. First, he started hinting that if we won, he was going to be "very upset" if there was no caddie crystal. Then he began complaining about the weight of the bag. I think he purposely tried to leave my two-and three-irons behind on the range, but Andy Bean yelled, "You forgot something." I gave Two-Down a dirty look.
"Wouldn't have mattered," Two-Down said with a shrug. "You haven't used them all week."
Did I mention that the driving range for the AT&T is quite possibly the coolest place on earth? There is only one for all three courses, and so all the stars and players meet there before and after their rounds. It's like when you were kids and met at the tree house before school. It's maybe the only place in the world where, in 100 yards, you can see Joe Pesci hitting next to Davis Love hitting next to Dan Quayle hitting next to John Daly hitting next to a 15-handicap schlump like me. This can only happen in golf. I have yet to see Pesci down punting with the Raiders before one of their games.
The problem is, as you stand there on the sixth day, having already played five rounds and scaled five-story hills, you realize that if you set up over one more five-iron, your aching legs and back might decide to spasm you to death.
"The average amateur," says pro Roger Maltbie, "gets a look at these beautiful free Titleists on the range and hits 5,000 balls the first day and then walks 18. Then, the second day, he overhears some pro talking about a swing change, and he picks that up and tries it and hits 5,000 more balls and walks 18 more. Then, the third day, some Tour rep handing out drivers gives him one, and he decides he's going to use that. So by the time the tournament starts, he has hit 15,000 balls, walked 54 holes, got a new grip, a new swing and new equipment, and he's exhausted. And he wonders why he can shoot 85 at home with the boys and never break 100 here."
Sounds exactly like me.
Our final day, Saturday, was at the toughest of the three courses, Spyglass. But Team Trix felt Sunday in its bloodstream. Why not? We had it right in front of us. We were at 11 under. Most people figured 18 under would make the cut, so all we needed was seven net birdies. We had averaged that the two previous days. Besides, Trix hadn't made a birdie since Thursday. "I got seven in me today," he said. He looked like he meant it, too.