I have to confess, there is one group of people for whom I do harbor a pure and unmitigated hate. I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily want to live next to the mentally unstable or have dinner at a cannibal’s house, and while the only pagan religious ceremony I’ve attended was disappointingly tame, I am a little too well-read in history to be entirely at my ease among pagans. One always finds oneself on edge against the possibility that they will castrate themselves without warning and cast their liberated testicles at your feet.
But I don’t mind any of them per se. What I hate is golf spectators. Peter King, though shaky on many subjects sporting and political, is surprisingly sound on the monsters:
Not a big golf watcher, truth be told. But I watched some over the
break, and I really need to figure one thing out: What is it with
screaming “GET IN THE HOOOOOLLLLE!!!!!” after every tee shot? It was
cute when Bill Murray did it, dweebs. It’s dweebish when you do it on
every tee shot.
Dweebish? The term hardly does them justice. When we lived in Ponte Vedra, we were about a decent tee drive from Sawgrass. Although we were of the Church of Tennis – you have to pick one there when you arrive, Golf or Tennis, it’s the law – we did attend The Players Championship with a friend who worked for the PGA Tour. It wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon, strolling around the course with a drink in your hand, even if you have zero interest in golf.
But I have never seen a more perfectly annoying group of dorks in my life. Over the course of the tournament, I gradually went from mild bemusement to moderate annoyance to full blown hatred for them. As near as I could tell, they count coup by being the first to announce that the ball is going to go into the hole. But, (and this is the challenge), it is deemed shameful to yell that the ball is going to go in if it does not, in fact, go into the hole. I don’t know what the penalty is, but apparently it is severe.
You understand the dilemma. If one waits until the ball is obviously going to go in the hole, someone else will beat one to it. If one jumps the gun, one will look like an ass. Or, rather, even more of an ass than one already does, being the sort of gentleman who follows a grown man around as if he was the mama duck and one was one of her ducklings.
I suspect I may have witnessed the birth of the phenomenon Peter King describes with such fitting distaste. One well-lubricated gentleman was loudly pondering the conundrum of when to announce the imminent falling of the ball into the hole as John Daley was preparing to make an approach shot towards the green where we were standing when a brilliant thought struck him.
“I know, I know, I know,” he told his friend excitedly. “Once the ball gets onto the green, I’m going to yell, ‘get in the hole, Big John’!”
He was roundly congratulated for the perspicacity of his brainstorm, leading me to do some pondering of my own concerning the likelihood that the local home for differently abled adults had been given free tickets to the tournament. I rejected that on the grounds that the Daley enthusiasts were sporting both Florida Casual and expensive watches, and contented myself with watching to see how the grand experiment would proceed.
The ball had no sooner bounced on the green when the innovator shouted, as promised, “Get in the hole, Big John!” He was clearly the first to raise his voice, as it was at least two seconds before a second shout was heard, declaring, with some degree of certainty, that the ball was indeed on a trajectory that would cause it to fall into the hole. The ball did go into the hole, to general approval, and the gentleman who had been the first to raise his voice was enthusiastically congratulated by his friends, with considerable high-fiving and back-pounding.
I did not see the man who was robbed of his boldly declarative statement by this cunning maneuver, but I have no doubt that he and his friends stood in slack-jawed awe, wondering how they had been so cleverly bested. Later that day, I heard the call resound from hole after hole. “Get in the hole, Tiger!” “Get in the hole, Lefty!” “Get in the hole, Big John!”
Apparently, over time, they have dropped the name, seeing as how everyone understands to whom the ball belongs. Now, you can say that their pastime is harmless. I won’t disagree. You can assert that they aren’t hurting anyone. I can’t argue with that. You can quite reasonably claim that it isn’t anyone’s business but theirs how and when they cheer. I will not dispute that.
And yet, my loathing for them still burns every bit as pure and as hot as it did on that first sunny Florida afternoon.