Sportswriter Rick Reilly’s new book Commander in Cheat – How Golf Explains Trump details Individual 1’s cheating ways on the green field of honor. As a longtime golfer, Red understands that golf is a gentleman’s game where the players largely call penalties on themselves and follow the rules because it is the right thing to do. Red has played with some cheats over the years. One playing companion (for a short while) could only be described as “The Master of the Leather Wedge.” And is one thing to cheat yourself so that you can feel better about a friendly Saturday afternoon round by taking a mulligan or two, but it is entirely another to cheat when you are in an actual tournament or there is money on the line. Apparently, Individual 1 cheats in both of those situations and any golfer worth his salt knows that such behavior tells you everything you need to know about the man. Trump claims some absurd number of bogus club championships and claims a 2.8 handicap. Pro golfers in there 70s don’t have 2.8 handicaps. By all accounts Trump is an above average golfer, but that’s not good enough for someone with an extreme narcissistic personality disorder for whom every waking moment is an exercise in personal glorification and continued building of the worst personality cult that our country has ever seen. And it’s not like there wasn’t enough information out there to inform the public that Trump’s entire life story presented to the public in his 2016 campaign is just one giant lie after another. But this is golf! This is a line in the sand! If you are a golfer and still support this lying, cheating pathetic excuse for a human being, then you have no honor. And Red is done with you.
Several current PGA tour members have questioned the manhood of NCAA golfers who use push carts instead of carrying their own bag. Golf Digest has the full scoop. Harris English, Billy Horschel and others seem overly offended by the amateurs employing modern push carts (Red remembers the days of pull carts). Not all pros have fallen in line. Bob Estes for one indicates that he wishes he had used one as he now suffers from some medical conditions possibly caused by years of carrying a hefty bag.
Red himself forswore the use of a pull/push cart for many years and insisted on walking and carrying. But in order to still walk as much as possible, Red has moved into the pro-push cart camp. For those who think golf is no exercise at all – Red challenges them to walk 18 holes in the Texas summer heat sometime. Walking an average 18 hole course is typically the equivalent of about 16-20,000 steps. That’s anywhere from 4 to 6 miles. Red you ask, how can that be when a course is only about 7000 yards? That leaves out the green to next tee box stroll of up to 100 yards or more, the walk around the green while putting, the searching for your and your fellow players’ balls, measuring distance, and general meandering, etc. Lugging a 20-30 lb bag for 6 miles is really not that much fun. Even the younger Red would usually be wondering about the sanity of same after the 14th hole. So the pampered elites of the PGA tour who haven’t lifted a bag in years and have a caddy to cater to their every whim on the course need to layoff the amateurs – most of whom are playing for the love of the game and will never play for the big money.
The finest non-major golf tournament held in the United States takes place in Fort Worth this weekend at Colonial Country Club. The event – dubbed the Fort Worth Invitational this year – has been held at the same site longer than any other tournament. As a result, CCC and the PGA have this tournament working like a finely-tuned, well-oiled machine. The facilities for the spectators are fabulous, there is ample room at most holes for up close viewing of the action and the overall layout is spectacular and compact. You can catch action on every hole without having to walk miles in the process. The venerable course holds up as well and while scores can be low only once has more than 20 under been the winning score.
The only downside has been the inability of to attract a better field in recent years – and the sometimes brutally hot weather in late May. The list of past champions, however, is impressive and includes such all-time greats as Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Caspar, Ben Crenshaw, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth.
Look for Red on Sunday relaxing in a luxury skybox by the 13th green with cool beverage in hand.
From the Annals of the Highway – In 1949, professional golfer Ben Hogan and his wife Valerie were seriously injured in an auto accident. Hogan was born in Stephenville but raised in Dublin and Fort Worth. After his father committed suicide when Hogan was 9, he began to caddy at Glen Garden CC south of town where he met his later tour rival Byron Nelson. He turned pro at age 18 but struggled for almost a decade before winning a professional event. But before his accident in 1949, Hogan had won 54 times on the PGA Tour including two PGA Championships and one U.S. Open victory.
The Hogans somehow survived the early morning head-on collision with a Greyhound bus on a fog-shrouded bridge east of Van Horn. Hogan threw himself across Valerie in order to protect her. He likely would have been killed otherwise as the steering column punctured the driver’s seat. Hogan suffered a double fracture of his pelvis, a fractured collar bone and left ankle and a chipped rib. He also suffered blood clots that would cause circulatory problems for the remainder of his life.
It seemed doubtful that he would ever compete again at the high level to which his fans were accustomed. After 59 days in the hospital, Hogan began his rehabilitation – mostly by extensive walking. He was back on the course by November and returned to the PGA Tour to start the season at the Los Angeles Open at Riviera Country Club. He finished tied with Sam Snead but lost in a playoff. Hogan would go on the win the U.S. Open in 1950 and five more major championships before he retired in 1959.
Two time major champion Suzann Petterson has told a Norwegian newspaper that Trump is a big-time cheat on the links. Unlike Rory McIlroy who has refused to spill the beans on Trump’s golf antics saying only that he was a good golfer “for his age”, Petterson didn’t hold back.
“He cheats like hell,” according to Petterson. Petterson also wondered how Trump’s errant shots into the woods somehow end up in the fairway speculating that his caddy is well paid. Petterson also challenged Trump’s claim to golfing prowess.
What’s strange is that he has never come close to breaking 80 when I’ve played with him, but whenever I talk to him he says he’s just shot 69, or broken a course record, or won a club championship.
You can get the full story at nationalclubgolfer.com. The only question is why is Petterson still playing with or even talking to a golf cheat. She’s just lucky Trump didn’t try to grab her by the putter. And any golfer who still supports Trump will never be in a foursome with Red.
From the Annals of “How Low Can You Go” – In 1962, Homero Blancas of Houston shot a 55 at the Premier Invitational Golf Tournament in Longview. Blancas was playing for the University of Houston golf team. Blancas had 13 birdies and an eagle to go 15 under par on the par 70 course. It remains the lowest score in U.S. competitive golf history. Blancas went on to join the PGA tour where he was rookie of the year in 1965. He won four events in his career and played on the 1973 Ryder Cup team. He is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame.
Formerly known as the Colonial National Invitational, the golf tournament now called the Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth is being played this week. If you are a golfer or fan and can only attend one event on the Texas tour, this is the one. The tournament has been held at the same course for over 70 years and is superbly well run. Not only that, but the course layout is such that there are excellent opportunities for viewing the action. It is very easy to move from one hole to another and the facilities are second to none for the average golf fan. The action on the par-3 13th is rumored to get a bit out of hand, but there are plenty of places on the course for a more relaxing view of actual golf being played.
Red played on Saturday with a gentleman about Red’s age and two young studs who both thought they were pretty hot shit. It gave Red enormous pleasure to beat the studs on several holes. No doubt they bested Red on the final score card (thanks to a few rather errant shots to the green), but on any given hole Red could compete with these young Adoni. Which at Red’s advanced age is a reason to keep going out there.
And a special note to the player who decided it was too much trouble to rake the trap on the Par-3 15th hole where Red’s ball landed right in the depression in the sand where you took your shot – You Suck! I hope your next ball buries in the lip.
Red has played golf since his Dad bought him a set of clubs for Christmas the year Red’s mother passed away. Red was 10 and as you can imagine, kind of lost without even knowing it. Red doesn’t recall that he played a round of golf with his Dad much more than a handful of times, but that doesn’t really matter. His Dad gave him something that would last a lifetime. “Red, all those games you like to play now are great; but when you get older, the game everyone will be playing is golf and you’d best learn it now.” When Dad was right, he was really right.
Shortly after that Christmas, Red’s Dad joined a second-rate country club (we’ll call it BCC). BCC was beyond the outskirts of town then and something of a getaway from the house where the ghostly presence of Mom seemed all too real and painful. The clubhouse at BCC was adequate, there was a very nice pool with 1 and 3 meter boards, some tennis courts, a shack of a pro shop and a 9-hole cow pasturish golf course.
Red got his first golf lesson along with some other kids from the pro – who was undoubtably pretty desperate to take a job at BCC. The instruction was probably adequate but not particularly inspiring. The pro did impart some valuable lessons about golf etiquette and respect for the course – a subject on which Red could pontificate for quite some time. “When you are walking on the green, it’s like you are walking on $100 bills.” He was also able to teach Red some of the basics. Red pretty much still uses the same grip and stance that he learned on that first Saturday on the driving range at BCC.
Red immediately liked the game and it helped that his friend John and some others wanted to play and that Red could occasionally take them out to play at BCC. There were not many golfing options in Red’s hometown back then and BCC was not a bad place for a young golfer to work on his game. And man, you felt grown up when you were out on the golf course playing with your friends at your country club in between two foursomes of men or the occasional women. It all sounds a bit more idyllic that it probably was – but Red has learned not to mess with memories too much.
Red distinctly remembers the first time he hit a ball off the first tee. It may be hard for some to believe, but it was an exciting moment – at least for 2-3 seconds. The ball came crisply off Red’s driver and started straight down the fairway before taking a sharp right turn onto the driving range and golfing purgatory. But it was a glorious 2-3 seconds and Red was hooked (or in this case sliced).
To be continued . . .