Last week was an unusual one for me, because I got to stay at home, but I still went to work. What’s more, I worked on a golf course (the TPC at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas) that I had no excuse to make a mistake on, as I am a member there. Of course, I misread a number of putts, and shanked at least one yardage, but hey, that’s golf.
I can however claim responsibility for some of Steve Pate’s success. I rescued him from a fate worse than death in the third round at the GTE Byron Nelson Classic. I joined him on the seventh hole, about an hour before we went on the air , and he immediately begged me to find some baby powder for him. A nasty dose of the dreaded Texas redeye in 90 degrees of heat, had left him bandy legged, and I can’t print how he described his nether regions, but the words “steak tartare” were included. I used the power of my talkback switch, and in 30 seconds his suffering was relieved. All in a day’s work for me, of course, but I’m really sorry he didn’t win, because he was going to credit me in his acceptance speech.
As always the highlight of the Byron Nelson was Byron Nelson. To be around someone that old, and that sharp, is always a treat. His attitude to the death of his old friend Gene Sarazen was typical of him, I thought. While the rest of us were moping around and feeling dutifully sad, Mr. Nelson was his usual upbeat self, and gave us the impression that he would have been more surprised to learn that the Squire was still alive. He reminded me of another ancient sage, my maternal grandfather, who was always “Papa” to me, who once said to me in a rare moment of eloquence, “The only sad people at a funeral are the living. The dead feel just fine.” He died soon after, and I remember even though I was only little, that while I was sorry that everyone else was upset, it made me feel better knowing that at least Papa wasn’t.
On a lighter note, what about that young upstart Venturi being named captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team? Put all your cash on the U.S. side right now, because they’ll be afraid to lose in front of Kenny. I can see them now, 12 men in a dorm with Captain Venturi patrolling the perimeter, flashlight in hand. “CAPTAIN VENTURI.” Even the name instills fear into the heart of the enemy, like some comic book superhero, with a huge V on his vest and his underwear over his tights, faster than a speeding golf ball, leaping wide fairways in a single bound, and hurtling between matches in a turbo charged E-Z-Go. The question is, who will be his faithful sidekick? Could it be Nantzman, or would that be too much to hope for? I know one thing — it would pose a problem for NBC!