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Saturday, February 03, 2007


Cartpaths of Glory

Mr Science & I run a ShotLink ball-spotter on a hole for the FBR at the TPC. That's a laser that relays the position of each golf ball to a computer so that the announcers can say exactly how far a drive is or exactly how long a putt is.

It's not tooo strenuous and it involves Golf, so fine, sort of like our Duty to Give Back to the Game, in a Noblesse Oblige sort-of-way, if you know what I mean . . .

. . . but this morning when the Captain gave us our hole assignment, he was apprehensive, I could tell. "You're on 11 Fairway" he said, then swallowed hard in that way that you have to, have to, watch his Adam's Apple go up-and-down, but his steely Scandinavian blue eyes coldly said, "I must have someone out there, and you must be that someone."

Mr Science shrugged in a nonchalant way, but I noticed the corners of his mouth turned down in a grim visage, like putting on a game-face that looked like an Maori Totem. For myself, I didn't actually throw myself at his feet sobbing for mercy, but I admit I spit out my cran-and-blue-berry muffin and left my coffee to grow cold, while I pondered our dismal future.

We were stationed on the right, just past that little copse of trees between the fairway and the cart path. Because of the water all down the left side, naturally, the pros will favor the right side, and should they miss more to the right, that's where we are.

Just to add to the mystery, we really can't see thru the trees to the tee, so we rely on the Red Coat Marshals to warn us, but they get tired of always yelling, "Look Out! Look Out!" so an occasional errant shot slips up on us once in a while. Like out of the 25 groups that came thru, I bet half of them landed a ball within 25 yds of us, and 3 or 4 within 5 yds. It was good there was a half-club wind in their faces or more of those pro shots would have landed at our feet.

So we'd switched back to Mr Science Lasering and Me Spotting, using a pair of binoculars to peek thru the trees to see who's hitting so we could set up the computer and to try to watch out for ourselves . . . you can always tell by the lean of the pro where his ball went . . . if they just bend down and pull the tee, then it's in the fairway, but if they leant left that meant we were in trouble on the right.

Even from Watney's swing I could read slice (that phenomenon is very familiar to moi), so I started moving away from the fairway right away, but then the Marshal hollered "Look Out! Look Out!" so I went into duck-and-cover mode instead, in a squat, a yard in front of our Laser machine with my back to the tee. Sure enough, this bullet had my name on it. It hit me where a Little League coach I once had usta call "The Pride and Joy", so I fell down.

"Ow" I said, but I popped right back up, to look where the ball had gone . . . it rolled about 1 yard in front of the last little Palo Verde tree. "Oh, no!" I said, "If he hasn't got a swing, if he doesn't kill me, I will die of shame, anyway!"

"Oh, shut up!" said Mr Science . . . "it hit you on the first bounce!"

"It did not!" I said, it hit me on the fly, and it's a good thing too, or it would have been in the desert!"

"Huh." said Mr Science, "if you'd just kept walking, instead of cowering like a rabbit, it'd missed you."

But Watney said nought, just came up without looking at us, measured his shot, and wound up with a birdie putt, closest of his threesome . . . a semi-awesome shot . . . even if he didn't know it hit me . . . maybe more if he did! His head was an inch from a reaching branch of the little tree -- if he had any sway in his swing it would have interfered. He had to hit some sort of little knock-down hook to avoid hitting the tree trunk, and he did it well. Amazing.

He didn't make the bird tho, and it looks to me as if he's dropped at least 15 places, so, I'd feel terrible still if it'd bothered him at all -- but he made two birdies after that so maybe it actually turned his game around!

AS for myself . . . I am not mortally wounded . . . when the last group had gone thru we got our driver to drop us off by 16 instead of the front gate, so we could apply some medicative cervezas . . . but, really, I didn't find the animal house atmosphere at the 16th hole that entertaining, but maybe it was just my injury making me cranky.

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