Dead Solid Perfect
Don’t think for a moment I didn’t notice that the PGA’s Tournament Players Championship tournament started yesterday down in Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida.
I’ve been busy this week, but not sooo busy that I would ignore this classic golfing event.
It is a tournament that began the week with Phil Mickelson’s induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, along with Scottish golfer Sandy Lyle, Peter Alliss, and Hollis Stacy, and the incomparable Texas sportswriter, Dan Jenkins (author of Dead Solid Perfect and Semi-Tough).
You can watch some highlights of Dan’s acceptance speech, along with Phils’ and others, here.
It’s worth the price of admission just to hear Dan Jenkins riff the names of all the famous golfers he has either 1) played rounds of golf with 2) had cocktails with 3) written stories about.
Jenkins related one story in particular, whereby one of the greatest golfers ever, Ben Hogan, offered to give Jenkins golf lessons, three times a week, for four months, to prepare Jenkins to compete in the National Amateur.
Jenkins thanked Hogan profusely for the offer, but explained that all he’d ever wanted to be was a sportswriter.
Hogan looked at him like “he’d looked at other people, with that cold stare,” and, Jenkins explained, “you don’t know if you’re going to get a bullet in the head or a dagger in your heart. And so you just wait for him to speak.”
Finally, Hogan smiled and said, “Well, keep workin’ at it.”
“And that,” Jenkins explained, “is what I’ve been doing for the last sixty years.”
As for Michelson’s speech, get your box of Kleenex ready.
Phil, whom you could argue is still “mid-career,” especially based on his recent golfing performance, explained that “We’re all in it together to enjoy this great game.”
He thanked everyone, “for competing with me…for your friendships. This has been so much fun and I love sharing this with everybody.”
He also went on to thank his fans, but with his typical good humor explained, “The fans have made this such a fun ride. It’s been their energy that has pulled me through. I’ve tried to reciprocate by launching drive after drive in their general direction.”
The audience, and I, found that one liner hilarious!
I actually had the good fortune to be hosted by the PGA at Ponta Vedra back in 1998, when we were featuring them as a customer in our advertising campaign.
I saw the World Golf Hall of Fame right before it was open to the public (I really must get back there!), and I also had the special privilege of giving the TPC Sawgrass Course a go.
I wasn’t playing nearly as much golf during those times, so my game was middling at best.
But, I made it through the round okay, and when I hit 17, the one with the floating green, I think I tried three times before the ball finally stayed on the green (I chuckle to this day when a pro drops a ball in the water on 17. I did NOT laugh when Angel Cabrera dropped four of them in the water there yesterday. Remember that nightmare hole inTin Cup???)
On 18, with that perilous water that essentially makes up the entirety of the hole’s left perimeter, I decided I would hit irons all the way. My drive was a three-iron that faded left and settled about three feet from the water. So much for playing it safe!
My second shot was another long iron, which landed promptly on the green about six feet from the hole.
I sank the putt and ran giggling off the green, and have never been back.
I birdied 18 at TPC Sawgrass playing only irons.
Take that, Phil Mickelson!