Trying to make a living out of golf has always been a stressful occupation, and these days, at least in terms of money, there's more at stake. Human nature ensures that an athlete's wife gets better looking in direct proportion to the amount of money he makes, but it's tough to stay married on Tour, and with the depth of talent, harder still to stay out there for any length of time. It all makes for a daytime soap opera in which, with a slip of the tongue, a rookie can get himself written out of the plot. So, for the start of the season, with every good wish for our new crop of Q-School grads, I have prepared a short list of some of the stupidest printable things I heard (myself say) in my early years on Tour. No need to thank me, boys; idiocy is my profession.
1.) Unless you and at least one sober witness saw a player and his wife go into their hotel room together last night and saw them come out of the room together the next morning, don't ask him how the old ball-and-chain is doing. The only exception to this is if you spot a player coming out of his room in the morning with some young strumpet in a cowboy hat who you know has been riding her way through the Tour money list like Sherman through Atlanta. Then (and preferably in her presence), it's okay to ask about the little woman. Most players think this is hysterical.
2. Yesterday, your playing partner took more strokes than an eighthgrade schoolboy with a Victoria's Secret catalog, and today he needs to shoot 59 to make the cut. He has breezed through the front side in a homicidal 41 and stopped by the locker room to reserve a backwardfacing middle aisle seat on the next flight out of town. This is not the time to point out any fatal swing flaws. Unless you feel like a visit to an oral surgeon for maxifollogical repair work, resist the urge to say "Hold it there, pardner" at the top of his swing. These new hybrid clubs can inflict a whole new level of damage to your face.
3. If you're not certain how much money the guy you're playing with has made this season, do not ask especially if you're beating him like a Whac-A-Mole. Some guys can be touchy: "Oh, real funny, asshole. I've hit more balls than Sir Elton John's chin this year, and still missed 16 cuts in a row ... and you want to know how I'm doing? Next thing you'll tell me you just bought a 110-foot Sunseeker and would I like to go fishing, but it'll have to be on a Tuesday 'cause that's the only day you don't have a corporate gig, right?"
4. 172nd on the money list: "Where ya' goin' for dinner?"
23rd on the money list: "Well I was thinking of just ordering room service, but my agent's here with a bunch of offers we need to go over, so I thought we might go out to this pretentious French place I heard about; 'sposed to be really good but kind of excostive, you know? How 'bout you?"
172nd: "Oh, I was thinking about room service, too, but my room's so small I put my key in the lock last night and broke a f---ing window. I let my caddie use my courtesy car to go get his bean snapped and he ran outta' gas in Laredo, so I told the transportation guy something was wrong with it and they gave me another one with a full tank. Works every time. Anyway, I got a coupon for two free drinks and sides at Church's Chicken from the fat chick in the tournament office, but I'd need a police escort to go to the neighborhood it's in, so I think I'll probably see if I can get my arm far enough up the snack machine in the lobby to snag some Cheetos. If I get lucky, maybe I'll get a pack of Life Savers for dessert."