Since a tiger came crashing out of the undergrowth, cutting a deep swoosh into the hindquarters of an unsuspecting PGA Tour, the rest of the wildlife has been understandably skittish. Would the Tour’s animal kingdom be this jumpy if everyone went around calling him Eldrick? Heavens, no.
So, while a name isn’t everything, this one certainly fits young Mr. Woods. Tiger is a predator with gleaming white incisors and an air of superiority. But Tiger is not the first, nor the only one with the well-suited nickname from the four corners of the zoo.
The Great White Shark is a name that Greg Norman wears as well as his designer clothing. Doesn’t Craig Stadler look alarmingly like a Walrus? Besides being large, he’s surprisingly nimble in his own environment and is an expert fisherman.
And, of course, there’s the Golden Bear. In this particular forest, all the other animals pay their respects to the Bear, even the Tiger.
But I had a weird thought the other day, at least weirder than all the rest. Those aren’t the only creatures in the wild. I’ll bet, if my mind’s eye serves me correctly, I could conjure up a few more denizens of the deep rough. At the risk of losing what few friends I have out there, simply remember: This exercise is in the name of science and animal husbandry.
Let’s start with the obvious. Ernie the Lion King, ruler of the African bush. This laid-back monarch spends most of the daylight hours lounging in the shade. His backswing is a luxurious stretch, his downswing a regal yawn. He occasionally appears to doze off during the follow-through, but at the end of the day, he is usually around for the kill.
I have often wondered if it would be possible to breed an Els with a lesser spotted Couples. That would be one hip cat with a very low pulse rate.
That was simple enough. Now for the more exotic creatures. How about the Duckbilled Swedipus? Having trouble picturing this animal? Oh, try harder. Duckbilled? Jesper Parnevik?
Now you’re catching on. However, don’t be fooled. Beneath that wacky exterior lies the heart of an expert nest robber, getting better all the time.
I’ll give you an easy one this time. The Octopus. Yes, of course. The first time I ever saw Jim Furyk’s swing, for some reason it reminded me of an octopus falling out of a tree.
But the real question is: Which is more defective? My head or his swing? Furyk is winning millions and I’m off the Tour. What does that tell you? Don’t you love this game?
Moving along to the next stop on the zoo tour is the Armadillo el Fiori, otherwise known as grumpicus extraordinaricus, with emphasis on the “cuss.” One of evolution’s great triumphs, this species has remained unchanged for millions of years.
When it is attacked, which is frequently, the Armadillo el Fiori has the ability to make himself almost spherical, which for Ed requires only a minor adjustment. He then shoots out a vile stream of verbal abuse making even the most voracious carnivore slink off in defeat. Just ask Tiger.
The next animal doesn’t need a cage, simply because we couldn’t find one small enough. The Chicken Hawk, aka Fred Funk, is one of the dwindling number of smaller creatures who are talented and tenacious enough to be successful in today’s world of heavy hitters.
Why the Chicken Hawk? For those of you who spent most of a wasted youth watching cartoons, or for those whose children are now doing the same, the Chicken Hawk is the tiny, dreaded nemesis of that loud-mouthed cartoon rooster Foghorn Leghorn.
It’s kind of nice to see the look of surprise on old Foghorn’s face, just before he falls to the ground, isn’t it? “It’s a joke, I say, it’s a joke, son,” as the Funky Chickenhawk drags off the prize.
Now that you have an idea of how my mind works, I have a quiz for you. See if you can guess the identity of the next animal. One clue: He is one of the world’s great players who has yet to win a major championship.
When in a bad mood, this animal’s hearing becomes so acute that he can, on occasion, hear a bee sneezing from 200 yards. A large mammal, native to the western coast of Scotland, he looks as if he might have accidentally swallowed a large piece of furniture.
Prone to sudden mood swings, he has a violent aversion to British journalists and because I now qualify as an Irish journalist, he might never speak to me again. Fortunately, he has a pretty good sense of humor, a prerequisite on the European Tour where the rest of the herd are more likely to contract hoof-in-mouth disease.
Unfortunately, the only creature I can think of with all these attributes is called a Colin Montgomerie already, which on the face of it seems like a bizarre coincidence. But there you have it.
Now, for the final creature. It is the Chameleon, which is what I’m about to impersonate. Blending into the background for a couple of weeks seems to be a good idea for this slithery reptile.
And, I’m going to have to be careful because, remember, it’s a jungle out there.