Sunday, May 15, 2016

Spoiled rotten

The big ideas just keep on coming, and heaven knows I can't stop them. Like Einstein and the theory of relativity, they arrive unbidden. I really don't have any control over them.

And so -- tada! -- the lightbulb went on upstairs this morning, while I was reading about the incredible hardships being endured down in Florida by the world's finest golfers. They're playing the Tournament Players Championships at Sawgrass down there this weekend, and the most awful happened yesterday: A perfectly manicured golf course turned into a descent into hell.

Or so you'd have thought from listening to all the complaining about the perfectly manicured greens, which for some reason became as slick as a three-card monte dealer after two days of being kept in proper PGA (aka, "perfectly manicured") condition.

Golf balls were rolling around out there like marbles on, well, marble, and scores shot up. The field averaged 75.59 in the third round after averaging 71.06.

The players, of course, blamed the course management, figuring they rolled the greens too much. But the PGA scoffed at that, offering the much more logical hypothesis that it was simply the weather, a 20-mph wind and beating sun drying out greens that had been double-rolled beforehand because they were too wet.

So, in essence, the world's best golfers were blaming the weather.

This is a level on the Whine Meter rarely achieved even for professional golfers, a notoriously whiny lot. And it came even from the third-round leader, Jason Day, who despite calling it "the toughest day I've ever had in my life" managed to shoot 73 and maintain a four-stroke lead.

The problem was, he'd set a 36-hole record the previous two days, when the course was deliberately set up for he and his fellow golfers to score well. Which is to say, conditions were even more optimum than they usually are for these guys, who rarely see anything that remotely resembles what your average hacker has to deal with on a daily basis.

Which led me to my big idea: Let's give the PGA's spoiled legions a taste of how the other 99 percent lives.

And so today I present my plans for the Greater Velveeta Ham Sandwich Open, which will be a mandatory event (i.e., play it or you lose your card) on the PGA Tour. The Hammy, as it will be called, will be played not at Sawgrass but at Whatgrass Municipal Golf Course, a new track currently being laid out on a Superfund site in Pig Snout, Oklahoma.

Needless to say, it will not be Perfectly Manicured.

Instead, it will be what we'll call Classic American Muni Track. The fairways will be as brown as a piece of toast and as worn as the hair on an old man's head. People's driveways and the railroad tracks that cut across the fairways on No. 4 and No. 12 will be in play.  And the greens will either be really fast or really slow, depending on which hole you're playing and whether or not Carl Spackler, the greenskeeper, remembered to water them.

And the roll?

Why, the roll will be as true as a politician's promises, because the green surfaces will come in two types: Pitted Concrete and Brazilian Rainforest.

I can't wait to hear the whining.



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