Charity Case

By definition, a charity pro-am is a six-hour ordeal on the golf course followed by a deep-fried nightmare of heavy hors d'oeuvres and a cocktail party designed to get the punters hammered so that they sniffle at the heart-rending video of crippled Timmy and reach for their wallets when the minor celebrity emcee auctions off assorted signed crap they'll eventually give as Christmas presents to people they don't like. But like I tell people when I'm the crap-auctioning minor celebrity emcee, the best way to weasel out of next year's event is just donate the crap back when they're asked to play. That way, they don't have to invent a pathetic excuse like, "I'd love to play, but my wife is recovering from prostate surgery." If the cocktails are huge enough, people don't notice that the wine tastes like lighter fluid and dinner is a lump of gray meat, accompanied by a strangely familiar slab of salmon, whose fishiness is mingling with the ubiquitous divot of burnt yardbird, along with a trio of violently undercooked tubers, all topped off with an anvil-like wedge of serious injury by chocolate.

I know, I know, I know: These are wonderful events run by magnificent people in the name of worthy causes that go to the very fabric of our great game. But for years, I've dreamed of running a pro-am event that's throbbingly different. All I needed was the right running mate--you know, someone who shared my outlook and moral values.

Then George came along. George Lopez, that is. I've been a fan of his for a long time, ever since Robert Gamez lent me a CD of one of his early standup routines, called Alien Nation. George challenges his fellow Latinos to see the ridiculous side of their culture, to stand up and be counted, and think of themselves as valuable members of society. There's even a similarity between salsa and Poteen. Both are homemade and put into old bottles. As George says, "You don't have to tear off the old label--it jumps off by itself."

The Lopez-Feherty Foundation for the Prevention of Teen Pregnancy, Gang Violence and Stupid Names for Mexican Fast Food Celebrity Pro-Am* will be different. There will be a 30-second limit on speeches, a one-minute limit on the crippled Timmy video, no boring auction (because it will be horrifyingly expensive to enter), no posed photographs and the golf will be limited to 12 teams of one celeb, one pro and two amateurs. As I write, I haven't asked anyone to play, but the event is very real, and here's my dream list. (If any of the following are unfortunate enough to be reading this and would like to play at the Vaquero club outside Dallas on the 16th of May, please contact me via the magazine or at tourtalent.com. Also, any stupidly rich amateurs who are willing to cough up $20,000 for a team of two plus 10 tickets to hear George that night can also give me a shout.** I will call you back personally--and talk dirty, if you like.)

Let's see...Willie Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky, Lee Trevino, Ray Romano, Kevin James, Cameron Diaz, Dr. Phil, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Bobby Orr, Todd Hamilton, Gary McCord, Phil Mickelson, The Donald, Samuel L. Jackson, Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam, Arnold Palmer, Keith Richards, Bill Murray and anyone else George can bribe.

Just like the Irish did 150 years ago, Latinos are building this country. When a Mick dropped dead of yellow fever while draining the swamps in New Orleans, another one popped up to take his place at eight cents an hour. We were worth less than slaves and portrayed as monkeys in the newspapers. These days many immigrant workers are treated pretty much the same, and just like the Irish, often their families have sold everything to give one child a chance of a better life in a new world. The key to that better life lies in education. Latinos need poets and writers, musicians and scientists, business people and leaders, and comedians like George Lopez, who teaches all of us the most important lessons of all--never take yourself too seriously, and don't be bitter, be better.

*We're still finalizing the name. But proceeds will go to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas and SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center in Corinth, Texas, which improves the lives of disabled, abused and at-risk kids by interaction with horses.
**Anyone who enjoys taking more than three hours and 45 minutes to play 18 holes need not apply, no matter how stupidly rich they are.


If you've ever wanted to send David Feherty a question or comment, here's your chance! David is putting down his mike to answer your E-mails in his mailbag column for GOLFONLINE.

Click here to send him your best question or comment. (Note: Letters may be edited for clarity and length).

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