Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, with Shigeki Maruyama's fine win at the Nelson in Dallas this past weekend, the first half of a two-week home stint is over for me, and next it's over to Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Dallas and Fort Worth are two different towns, believe me. That's evident when you're landing at the airport, which sits pretty much in-between them. If your pilot is a local, you always know from where he or she hails, because you're welcomed to one or the other.

The Nelson and the Colonial are two different golf tournaments too. At the Nelson, we have the famous party tent, the "Pavilion," where thousands of pseudo golf fans congregate each afternoon to admire a vast array of silicone spectator mounds and their owners, who are only too pleased to display them. Hey, it's spring after all, and most mammals in the area are doing exactly the same thing.

Certain events on the PGA Tour are famous for these meeting places. Phoenix has the Bird's Nest, Hilton Head the Quarterdeck, but there is nowhere quite like Dallas, where everything is bigger, including the number of people willing to get hammered, sunburned, and risk incineration by lightning, all in the name of love or at least, lust.

Now, there are few games with a wealthier demographic than golf. Yachting perhaps, but there is a much stronger possibility that the commodore of the average yacht club already has someone who is willing to dress up like a nurse, and change his diaper. This is an objective piece, of course, and I do have a Master's degree in human stupidity, so don't call me sexist when I say that at the Nelson, there seems to be a higher ratio of slim, beautiful females attached to fat unattractive males than at any other event.

The side show at the Nelson is usually more entertaining than the golf. As the afternoon goes on, more and more of these incongruous, liquored-up, not-quite-mates-for-life venture out of the Pavilion and on to the golf course, so that the male can continue to impress the female with his brightly colored plumage, a coyote turd that someone told him was Cuban, and knowledge of a game about which she knows and cares nothing.

But by hardly sweating at all, preventing her plastic puppies from escaping their spandex tube kennel, and staying upright on the sodden turf in pole-dancing pumps, the female also tries to impress. It's a fascinating mating ritual, but completely unlike that of the whooping crane which achieves the same result by leaping up and down, flapping it's wings and yelling in birdspeak, "Dear God, but I'm horny!"

I would say that about 60 percent of those who attend the Byron Nelson do so with the sole purpose of getting laid, and the other 40 percent are there to watch them try. The remainder, which amounts to me, does his best to do television which, given the distraction factor, can be tough. After the third round on Saturday, I did a piece for our local CBS affiliate's evening sports roundup with former Cowboys quarterback Babe Laufenburg. We were set up behind the second tee, facing a vast swarm of fans making their way back to the Pavilion. I suspected there had been some drinking done, as a bunch of them stopped behind the cameras, made silly faces, and shouted, "Hi, Mom!"

The key word in that last sentence was "behind." Like, you'd need to be "in front" of the camera for Mom to see you, no? But it was Mother's Day, so Babe and I gave them the benefit of the doubt and carried on as if they weren't there. Then, a leggy woman with black-and-tan hair that had no doubt started the day fully inflated, teetered to a halt on mud-encrusted five-inch heels, and held out her arms sideways with her fingertips outstretched, like a diver with her toes over the edge of the 10-meter springboard.

By this stage of the festivities her mascara had started to run, and she looked like she was wearing a dead Afghan hound on her head. There was some minor jostling as the crowd behind her wingspan stumbled to a halt. Laufenberg was in the middle of asking me a question, but I was preoccupied with what I saw out of the corner of my eye. I could almost hear Scotty in the engine room of the Starship Enterprise: "Ah canny hold her cap'n, ah think she's goin' tae blow!!"

Then she blew, and I think her boyfriend must have set her choke wide open, because she let fly with a projectile burst of chunks, most of which would have finished out of bounds on the widest hole at the TPC. She might have been a golf fan too, because before the 20 or so folks in front had time to realize their backs had been pebbledashed with a lumpy puree of cheap chardonnay and franks, she'd reloaded and blown a provisional!

It was a staggering performance, and alone worth the price of a ticket. People were yelling, rolling around on the ground, and dry-heaving, as best of all, she sailed like some majestic icebreaker, through the sea of bodies off toward the Pavilion, and presumably, another drink. I mean, something like that'll leave a bad taste in your mouth. And like I said, the cameras were pointing at us. Bummer!

Oh, well, there's always this week, where the same crowd will show up. Overnight infatuations seldom last, especially when most of the time people wake up the following morning. If you don't like the one you hit on at the Nelson, you get to hit on a mulligan at The Colonial.

Oh, yeah, and the golf is great in both places too.

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