Friday, June 27, 2008

No doubt you heard at some stage during the course of The Masters, the phrase, "A tradition unlike any other." Well, once The Masters is over, traditionally, I first have my buttocks surgically unclenched at Augusta General, and then I head to Columbia, S.C., for the Hootie and the Blowfish "Monday after The Masters" pro-am, where I traditionally play like a man with a really bad hangover. Fortunately, no one cares, as this is a two-night/one-day event in support of local charities, in which the golf is the least important element. It's kind of relaxing. All kinds of athletes and celebs show up, plus musicians such as Edwin McCain, Sister Hazel, and Creed, who play golf during the day and music with Hootie and the Blowfish at night. It is the coolest event of its kind that I have ever played in, in one of the nicest cities I have ever visited, and it's a credit to the boys in the band, that they care so much for their hometown.

Then, it's on to Hilton Head, where, traditionally every year, McCord, Kostis, and I share a house just about 50 yards from the 16th green, and even closer to the TV compound. This of course means that nobody goes anywhere all week, especially the vegetable McCord, who occasionally does a telecast in his nightdress, and then goes straight back to bed. On the downside, the house is also used as the dining area for the entire crew, who routinely rifle through our personal stuff, shortsheet our beds, and one of them always leaves a traditional floater in the bathroom. This kind of foul play invariably leads to more childish locker room behavior throughout the week, but on Saturday night, we put away our childish things, lock out the rabble, and settle down to watch a man's game -- playoff hockey.

Every year, on the Saturday night of Hilton Head, three male announcers traditionally build themselves a small campfire in the middle of the lounge, paint a couple of bison on the wall, and then slap each other until a dominant male emerges, who instantly seizes custody of the remote control. Then we park ourselves in front of the box, armed with an appalling amount of red wine and pizza, to watch Neanderthals on skates, hook, slash, board, trip, punch and talk dirty to each other all night. For me, it's the sport with the icing on top, and the last of the real "guy" sports.

All of us are expressly forbidden to express our masculinity whilst watching golf, so we jump at this once a year chance. Kostis, who is a disturbing Greek person from Maine, knows all the rules and most of the players. He regularly barks out obscure technical details, and has a nasty habit of telestrating on the screen with a Sharpie, while McCord, who is an escaped mental patient from southern California, just sits there, squeezing slices of pepperoni into a miniature puck. We found out last year that he can't see the real one, as he got so close to the screen that his mustache exploded in a burst of static electricity.

And me?, I am a fat Irish person from Texas, who prefers just to sit by the fire, burp loudly, and clip my toenails. Then I throw the clippings into the flames, and watch them writhe as they turn Halloween orange, before they blacken and die .... naughty toenails.

Traditionally, none of our wives have ever come to Hilton Head. I can't imagine why.

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