Friday, June 15, 2007

Butch knew it was over when the damned headcover bit him. He tried to interlock his gloved fingers around its striped neck, but he had to give up. The padding in his glove wouldn't let him do anything with his hands but grip a golf club perfectly.

"Damn it!" he sobbed. "Damn it! Damn it!" His relationship with Tiger was over, but why? For the love of God, it was obvious they were meant for each other. They had been a perfect match, hole mates. Then Tiger had said, in that flat voice of his, "Sorry, Butchie. It's not you, it's me."

Butch knew there was another guru. He could see it in Tiger's eyes, in his narrower stance. For years, Butch had filled that crucial gap between Steve Williams and the best camera angle on Tiger, so that no player, coach or network could spot the secret move Tiger called "Big Pussy." Butch went to yoga classes until he was flexible enough to assume the "Leadbetter" position. It wasn't easy for a man of 5-foot-6 to get his feet so far apart, but he did it, and now, with his massive trousers and specially weighted underpants, he had the networks' low-angle cameras blocked. He could say good and nice as well as any coach who had ever lived, but it was all for naught. Tiger (or the mastermind behind Tiger) had canned him. Well, to hell with Tiger Woods and that overpaid skycap Williams. To hell with them all! He'd always have Adam...

In an underground laboratory in Oregon, Phil Knight looked over Professor David Duval's shoulder as the professor opened a flap of skin behind the android's knee. No one at Georgia Tech had looked twice at Duval, a nerdy, introverted bioengineering student, especially after his early experiment, Charlie Rymer, had gone so horribly awry.

With a pair of tweezers, Duval loosened a chip and held it up to the light. "I'm close," he said softly, cocking his head to one side, peering at the tiny sliver of silicon.

Knight frowned. "Uh, like where have I heard that before?" he said sarcastically. "You need to be more than close. Kostis is close, too. Next thing we know that evil bastard will have his massive Greek thumbprints all over his super-slo-mo shots and the game will be up. How will the Swoosh look if people find out that to Just Do It, Tiger needs eight D batteries shoved up him?"

"Listen," Duval said. "If you think I faked the death of my own career so I could sing backup vocals in Daly's trailer or hang out with Frank Lickliter, throwing knives at a cardboard cutout of Michael Moore, you've lost your mind. I'm on this, OK? Just make sure his damned shoes fit this time, and maybe we can stop his knee from exploding after 500 swings."

Knight smiled. "You know, it's ironic, Duval," he said. "For a while there, everybody thought you were the robot."

Meanwhile, back at Tour HQ, Vijay Singh was digging a hole in a bunker, cursing on every follow-through. He'd been so close to catching Tiger. Soooo close, and then that grinning, subcutaneous second-place suck-up Mickelson suddenly figures out how to swallow and now the whole shooting match is up in the air. Then there's Els and Goosen, two stiffs hitting a few balls between cases of beer. It wasn't right! Singh dropped his sand wedge and stamped up to the fitness trailer.

Later, in the trailer, Vijay, Phil, Ernie and Retief are playing poker on Tim Herron, who has passed out on a massage table. They are surrounded by beer bottles and mountains of Cialis packets.

Retief: "Man, maybe we shouldn't have told him they were sugar-free."

Ernie (poking Lumpy in the chest): "Ach, hey, he's as firm as he's ever been."

Retief: "Maybe we should try the defibrillator on him."

Ernie: "Ja man, it worked for you."

Phil (tossing cash onto Lumpy): "I'll raise you 50 grand."

Vijay: "Do you have a gambling problem or something?"

Suddenly the door bursts open. In strides Professor Duval, followed by a tall, shadowy figure dressed in red and black.

Duval: "Gentlemen, meet the new, improved...Tiger!"

Vijay, Phil, Ernie and Retief: "No!"

Duval: "Hahahaha!"

Tigerbot: "I'm back, and I've brought...a friend."

He reaches out and clasps hands with the professor's latest creation: a tall, slim she-bot. Yes, it's the Wiebot.

Vijay, Phil, Ernie, Retief and Lumpy: "Noo-oo-ooo!"

WILL TIGERBOT DESTROY PAR? IS LUMPY CARRYING ERNIE'S BABY? CAN THE WIEBOT DEFEAT ANNIKABOT? DON'T MISS THE NEXT EPISODE OF AS THE WORLD SPINS SIDEWAYS.

Click here for The Alternative Ending

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