Unlike in the movie Caddy Shack, where everything seemed to be fair game to try and cause Danny Noonan to miss that final putt, we in the real world rarely if ever appreciate the well-timed distraction of a yell, throat clearing, or orchestrated club slamming in the bag during a back swing.  The guy who yelled during Tiger’s birdie putt yesterday at Torrey Pines, ostensibly causing him to miss, paid a price from the crowd right away.  Had the event not been televised and in front of millions of people, I am not sure we would be able to find him today.

What, exactly, should happen to someone who does something like this on purpose?  It depends on when and where you are playing.  In Florida, for example, the soil tends to be too sandy and damp to actually bury a body and it stay undetected.  Luckily, most golf courses down there have plenty of predator wildlife available that one could dispose of the body by perhaps feeding it to the alligators.  If it happens to occur farther north during the Winter months, the ground can often be too frozen to dig a pit deep enough so, maybe carry an orange vest in your bag.  Do this so that when you have to eliminate the perpetrator post- flagrante delicto you can simply shoot him in the face (with the pistol you always carry in your bag), put the orange vest on him and dump him in the woods a few yards from the edge of the golf course.  That way it will look like an innocent hunting accident.

All kidding aside (am I really kidding?) – there is nothing so infuriating as going through months of practice, swing thoughts, reading, playing through yips, etc…only to be purposefully distracted at the moment of truth by a f*****g a*****e who can’t stand to lose a $2 bet!

Now, there are distractions and there are distractions.  I have played with people whom I believe don’t necessarily realize they are causing you grief during your moment of concentration.  Examples of these:

1.  The guy who hits from the senior tees who can’t wait to get there.  He hovers just in your eyesight and just as you begin your backswing he starts moving wuickly to his tee – all while you’re thinking about him instead of hitting the green on the 200 yard par 3.

2.  The guy who decides to be a good steward of the golf course and fill in divots with sand all behind you while you are trying to make your approach shot to the green from the fairway.

3.  The guys who whisper on the green within earshot, having a conversation that absolutely CANNOT wait until after you pull the trigger on your putt.

4.  The phone that rings at just the right (wrong) moment…need I say more.

These people can be talked to, and maybe….just maybe the behavior can be corrected.  But sometimes, people being who they are, they simply cannot change.  Time to move on and play with someone else.  This article isn’t really about these guys.  I am talking about the guy who knows exactly what he is doing.  Who jingles his change while you waggle.  Who coughs when you pull back your putter.  The guy who bangs sand from the bottom of his shoes as you stroke the 4 foot birdie putt.

Now, I can take gamesmanship.  Guys who talk about all the trouble in front of you after they have already hit.  You know what I mean.  That is fair game I suppose.  But, I will not abide the obvious purposeful distraction.

I know some of you will say that maybe I just have “rabbit ears.”  Guys who have “rabbit ears” are the kind of guys who blame the guy two fairways over who did something that made a little noise in his back swing.  He blames the bird for making bird noises.  No, I do not have rabbit ears.  Hell, after years of flying helicopters from the pitching decks of Navy ships I can barely hear a normal conversation.  I am speaking of intentional distractions like the one Tiger had to endure yesterday…the kind that in the seconds afterward one could justifiably choke the living s**t out of the guy.  You know.  It’s like pornography, hard to put a razor’s edge on the definition, but you know it when you see it.

Whover that guy was yesterday at Torrey, I hope he left with his life.  Because, even I, after a moment of reflection understand that life – no matter how low – is not less valuable than a stroke on a score card…usually.


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