Sunday, August 02, 2009


A brilliant idea to add excitement and additional (sane) fan interest to professional golfing events.

Jim's column this week is reprinted from a letter he wrote ESPN's the Magazine Rick Reilly, whose "Life of Reilly" column spices up the back page of that magazine and which formerly appeared for several years in Sports Illustrated

Dear Mr. Reilly,

It has come to my attention that you have been (self?) anointed as the national gadfly on sports absurdities and oddities and as correcter in chief of some (not all) of that which is wrong in modern sports.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would lend your sharp and satirical wit to one of the banes of modern professional golfing events. I refer to the now ubiquitous "IN THE HOLE!!!" which has now superseded the quaint and archaic (as Alberto Gonzales would say) "YOU DA MAN!!!" which first haunted Augusta National's somewhat less than hallowed grounds. [Sorry, but their profound and lengthy history of first, racism, then gender discrimination, and always, elitism beyond sanity- they close the whole course for the summer, for goodness sakes, ostensibly because of the heat, while every golf course to the south of Augusta (virtually the entire State of Georgia, including my home courses in Albany) and Florida remains open.]

I have a modest proposal to rectify this situation, which has reached such absurd depths that as Tiger Woods has barely reached 10 degrees of arc past the point of striking his soon to be wayward tee shot on a 598 yard par 5, some inebriated idiot desperate for attention (Did you hear me on television dear? That was ME bellowing on the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th tees, until I had to find a port a potty to dispose of all of the beer I had rented and I couldn't find my way back to the golf course again.) screams that the ball should, impossibly, land in the hole a third of a mile away. My suggestion is to arm various course marshals and other volunteers with paint ball guns, loaded with a water soluble paint and relatively low velocity propulsion mechanisms. Any person noticed bellowing any inanity before the golfer has completed his follow through may be shot with impunity, at chest level or lower, but only in the intervening 10 seconds, after which, any persons found to have been squarely shot with various colored paint splatters will be gently escorted from the golf course to a tent where they will be given the option of leaving for the day and being forever barred from the grounds (a dire threat to Masters "badge holders" or "patrons" or whatever other euphemism CBS's unctuous announcers are currently required to use when referring to the unwashed, uncouth masses who attend the tournament, OR, in the alternative, sitting down, taking a breathalyzer test, and if they post less than .08 (the legal limit for DUI in Georgia) they will have to watch a one hour video on golf etiquette before they are allowed to return to the course. But they will return only with a balloon tied around the waist, bobbing at a height of 10 feet, still wearing their paint spattered clothes so as to allow for well deserved embarrassment and so that they may be easily spotted and removed if any further infractions ensue.

Thank you for your time and attention. I hope this has been as inspirational for you to read as it has been cathartic for me to write it.

Sincerely yours,
James Finkelstein
Albany, Georgia

P.S. I have had a career in golf good enough that I played on an ECAC championship team at Penn (1972), played in a U.S. Open Qualifier at Pinehurst #2 (1976- I missed the cut by about a thousand light years), with Allen Doyle in a U.S. Amateur qualifier at Atlanta Athletic Club (circa 1982- again, nowhere near making the cut) and won a couple of club championships spaced 29 years apart, one in Pennsylvania, one in Georgia. And I never take a cart- I always walk, so I am one of the unwashed (and stinky) masses.


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