Two things could be said about me in my 20’s. I hated slow play more than any man alive and I turned into an English Soccer Hooligan when someone provoked me. Here are two such examples.
I was playing in a tournament and doing well. One guy in my group was not doing not so well. During the first 30 or so holes of the tournament, I had to back off several shots because…well because this guy was a rude jerk who had no etiquette about being still and quiet while others were playing. I was about 8 under and he was about 15 over late in the second round. Slamming clubs, cursing, walking on the cart path with metal spikes, you name it, he did it while I and the third member of our group were trying to hit shots…sometimes in our backswings.
After the second or third time I had to back off because of his antics, I asked him politely to keep still and quiet while I was playing and did so 3 or 4 more times after that. He pretty much blew me off each time I asked him nicely.
Back to late in the second round. I had a difficult second shot to a par 5 with water short and right and about 250 left. Mr. 15 over had just chunked a 3 wood in the water. I looked to see if he was ready to create a stir, but he was just holding his club next to his bag and staring into space. In the middle of my backswing, he cursed and slammed his club into his bag. I was distracted and hit the ball in the water.
I walked over to him and said, “look I don’t care if you are stupid and don’t know any better, or an ******* and doing this on purpose. Keep still and keep quiet.”
He got nose to nose with me and told me I had an inappropriate relationship with my mother…so I grabbed him by the neck and threw him on his back.
For the next three years or so, other players were afraid of me…LOL.
…or maybe it was because I once took a steel shafted wedge, grabbed it by the grip and club head and bent it till in snapped.
Later that same year I was in a Nationwide Tour event. It was late on Sunday. I want to say I was the 4th or 5th to the last group. In the group behind me was R.W. Eaks, a current Champions Tour player and Larry Silviera, a journeyman PGA Tour player. In the mid 90’s before all of these gurus convinced us we needed 12 swing thoughts and 5 minute pre-shot routines, twosomes on the Nationwide Tour lasted about 3 1/2 hours on Sunday.
I got paired with a guy who Ben Crane would have been mad at for slow play. By the 15th hole, we were three holes behind and the group in front of us was done. Somehow, this guy has his routine down to a science and went 39 seconds every time he saw he was on the clock. He walked at a snails pace and took advantage of every opportunity to squeeze out a few extra seconds, yet still stay under the alotted 40 seconds.
I putted out on 15 and walked to the 16th tee, teed my ball up and waited for him to finish. As soon as he holed out, I teed off and in my best Rory Sabbatini impression, started walking down the fairway.
I passed the 15th tee on my way down the 16th fairway and R.W. yelled at me…”hey Monte, you playing a single?”
16 was a par 5 and I had hit a really good drive but in the right rough, as left was OB. I was slightly blocked by a tree to go for the green in two, but could have taken a chance and played around it.
Senior Tortuga went through his 39 second routine, finally hit his drive and rolled down the fairway like molasses while I was waiting next to his drive. He walked up to his ball, stopped, pulled out his yardage book and 39 seconds later, he finally hit his second shot. A hum drum baseline shot layup to 100 yards from the green that any 15 handicap could have done with his eyes closed, without checking the yardage book, in his sleep.
Now I had around 500 people following me…and I didn’t know an official right behind me when I grabbed my sand wedge out of my bag and slapped it down the fairway to about 115 yards from the green all in one motion, barely even pausing to address the ball.
Someone in the crowd asked me why I layed back that far and I said…”I wanted to hit my third shot before judgment day.” All 500 people roared…as did the official who told me that in spite of my pithy comment, I was going to receive a notice of fine for my behavior.
Now some of you are going to agree with my actions and say they were justified, while others will say I was a complete ass in spite of the situations.
I say you are all correct and whether you would have done worse than I did, or think this is a gentleman’s game and my actions were appalling…or anything in between, I hope we can all agree the stories were entertaining. 🙂