What is the relationship between corking a golf club and a baseball
bat? When the Beast of Terror takes up golf, and starts to
steal the credibility of this great sport, maybe it's time for all of
us to become Sentinels of Vigilance.
3, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 659
Terror On The Golf Course
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--July 3,
2003-- The Beast of Terror is stalking America's golf courses,
carrying with him or her a lethal weapon that injects Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency into all who love the sport and its
Principles of Vigilance.
The Terror-weapon is called "cheating."
Golf, one of the most-played sports in
the world, draws more than 27 million players a year to hack,
putt and drive the ball to glory over America's 17,000 golf
courses. Millions more watch televised challenges as
the top members of the Professional Golf Association(PGA),
and its female counterpart, the LPGA, swing at a ball about
the size of half-dollar, each pro attempting to score less
than all the other competitors.
Patriotic terms are used such as
"birdie" and "eagle." A "birdie"
is earned for putting the ball in the hole one-stroke less
than "par," and, for the "eagle," to drop
the golf ball into the "cup" with two strokes less
This hallowed sport started in Scotland
with a leather ball full of compressed feathers; it is now
under Terror-attack not by some foreign invader, but from
within its own ranks.
In a rush to capture
the multi-millions of dollars in prize money and endorsements,
some players are making a pact with the Beast of Terror to
unfairly edge out their competitors by using illegal clubs
that boost the ball and give it more distance and accuracy
than their fellow pros. Similar to baseball, the golfers
are "corking" their clubs.
Sosa was busted for using a "corked" bat
Homerun hero, Sammy
Sosa, was recently busted for using a "corked" bat.
Players doctor the innards of the wood in a baseball bat by drilling a
hole in the top and inserting a springy material so the ball can be
hit farther than with a "regulation" bat. Sousa was caught
when one of his bat's broke, spilling the viscera of the wounded wood
onto the field for the world to witness that one of the world's best
and honored players was victim of the Beast of Terror.
Competitive "weapon tampering" isn't just the
privy of baseball.
The PGA smells a pack of rats in the golf bags of
their professional golfers.
Golf rules limit the spring like effect of the
golf face when it makes contact with the ball so that a player can't
have a technological advantage over others. To contest the
use of illegal clubs was a lugubrious process, requiring the clubs be
sent to a special United States Golf Association laboratory for
inspection and testing.
Now, the PGA has come up with a method to test
clubs on the spot with what is called a Pendulum Tester. Only,
there's a "rub of the green" attached. The PGA, kowtowing to the
Beast of Competitive Terror, has made the testing "voluntary."
Intimidated by their own concern for effecting
rules that might suggest PGA members are "crooked players," the PGA
has made club testing "optional" instead of mandatory. It's as
absurd as having voluntary scanning at airports. As travelers
approach the security checkpoint they are asked, "Would you like to
volunteer to have your baggage, body and shoes examined for possible
weapons and explosives, or would you prefer to just pass through
without being bothered?"
favors club testing but is opposed to the PGA's proposal of
the world's #1 golfer, albeit in favor of club testing, considers the
voluntary measurement of clubs about as stupid as setting up voluntary
security checks at airports. He's for mandatory testing.
He realizes that the people who may have
"corked" their clubs will be the last to leap into line to have their
clubs checked. Why should they volunteer to face the threat of
expulsion, fine and loss of commercial credibility with sponsors?
Technology has indeed advanced the
impact of a player's drive. In 1995 the
average driving distance on the PGA was 263.6 yards. Last year
it peaked at 279.8.
It doesn't appear that Tiger Woods is
one of those doctoring their clubs. Woods' career driving
distance is 292.2, putting him in 30th place overall.
Corking one's golf clubs seems as much a
violation of the Golfing Patriot Act as Sammy Sosa boosting his bat's
power. It demeans those we hold up as competitive
heroes. And,for fans who believe in the "rugged idealism" of
sports--individual skills battling limited resources--it turns the
Vigilant Victors who cork their clubs into Competitive Beasts of
What kind of guy or gal would
cheat his way to the top? One who would eat his own children to
win, of course. If sportsmanship is a virtue, those who who
refute it are no better than the bookies that rig contests to line
their pockets at the public's excuse.
The PGA is apparently afraid to
demand club testing.
It makes me wonder whether the
PGA is afraid that its top players, the ones who draw the most
television cameras and boost ad revenues and viewership, might be
tagged Beasts of Terror because these "heroes" are not true "heroes"
at all, but just bullies using whatever edges they can to ace out the
competition and falsely claim titles.
advertises it is the "original cork-filled bat of golf"
other reason would the PGA have in making club testing voluntary than
to make it serve as warning shot to its top echelon to clean up their
act before they are found out?
Frankly, the scandal
caught me by surprise.
Once an avid golfer, I
played the game from St. Andrews in Scotland to Pebble Beach in
Monterey, California. My home course was Torrey Pines, in San
Diego, where as a young man, I was privileged to play in the
pre-dawn mornings with a group of old-timers, one of whom was a
playing buddy of golf icon Bobby Jones. He taught me the "rugged
individualism" of golf. He taught me golf was about a man
against elements, just me and my sticks and a ball and a hole.
He taught me to play against myself, challenging all my emotions to
become part of the golf course, to respect it and to never violate it
or its rules or I would suffer the Wrath of golf.
It took great restraint
for me not to throw clubs, or break them, or smash other golfers in
the face when they hit into me, or to not pray my opponent would miss
his or her putt. I had to learn tolerance and
respect, and wish the best shot for my competitors so I could keep
myself in the "respect groove" and not fall into the Terror-trap of
wishing ill on others that might boomerang back upon me.
tolerance and respect on the golf course
A Native American
Indian friend of mine told me the story of a sweat lodge. He
said that if you say or think ill of another, the bad thought or word
is like an arrow. It will pass through its target and the wind
will bend it back so it will spear itself into your heart.
You will then own the ill you wish upon others, he said.
I thought of this in regards not just
to the PGA issue with golf clubs, but to the world at large.
How many of us wish ill upon our enemies? At work, how
many times do we gloat when someone screws up in hopes we might
advance? How many times do we laugh or demean
another for not dressing well, or looking funny? How many times
do we leap with glee with someone trying to achieve a goal falls on
their face and we shout: "I told you so! Loser!
We are the
losers when we deride others
Do we invite the Beast of Terror into
our hearts when we deride and chide others?
Do our lives become less
Vigilant each time we express prejudice, bigotry, hatred, envy toward
Golf, especially professional
golf, is supposed to be a palace of principles, as is all sports.
But now, the footprints of the Beast of Terror mar the soil around the
greens and fairways, suggesting that the heroes of the sport may be
just as selfish as the guy in the boardroom seeking to edge his way to
the chairmanship by spreading rumors about a competitor for the job.
Most of us have put politics on
the lowest rung of credibility because politicians make character
assassinations an art and science. No wonder the people who run
nations are constantly under attack, for the paths they walk are
littered with bones and blood of all the backstabbing along the way.
I guess it bothers me most that
the PGA, the police system to keep the sport honest, is as dishonest
as the players. The PGA ruling that club testing is
voluntary is as much a crime as the criminals who doctor their clubs.
It sends a bad signal to all, that the corruption in the sport has
percolated to the top. It makes Martha Stewart look pretty good.
On the eve of the 4th July,
millions of Americans are polishing up their golf clubs to attack
their favorite golf course. But this day, they may not
have as good a time as they might.
golfers don't play with "terror sticks"
They will be looking at their buddy playing next them and wondering:
"Is this guy a cheater? Is this guy so selfish he would take my
dimes and nickels without batting an eye and never admit he's using a
And, when I watch those long,
beautiful drives the PGA tour players will hit this weekend on
television, I'll have the tendency to say: "Bet his club is
Terrorism takes many forms.
But, the award for supporting it today goes to the PGA for making club
That decision is about as
credible as President Bush telling Saddam Hussein to "voluntarily"
turn himself in.
July 2--Ode To The Children Of Dissent
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