Man Versus Golf – Crookston Times

Beyond Reason by Rob Perez:

You know how sometimes you go to visit your parents but you don’t want to stay with them because, you know, they’re your parents? So you decide to stay nearby, but not that nearby because, well, they’re your parents? But it’s also spring break for the kiddos so you dish out a little more scratch than usual and stay not just at a hotel but a resort with a full-on water park, with lots of pools and water slides Galore? And you know how the first few days are good, clean family fun, swimming during the days, seeing the folks in the evening but then you learn that the resort offers something else and that something else is… golf? And you know how halfway through your stay, the PGA walks in like they own the joint? I hate it when that happens.

One minute, parking is first come first serve, the next it’s: Are you with the Open? Oh, you’re not with the Open. No problem. We have very nice parking for you near your parent’s house.

Why on earth was I competing for a parking spot in the Hill Country of Texas? Everything’s bigger in Texas is an actual slogan. Have you seen their French toast? It’s not especially French but I’ve never seen a bigger toast anywhere and I’ve seen a lot of toast. I mean, a lot of toast.

Look, I yield to no man when it comes to parking in a land far, far away. At the end of the day, I like beating my wife in steps. I take pride in it. It’s a way of life. And every step helps. While now people do children, plural, in their car to park three spots closer to the entrance, I deliberately park beyond the Fray. I walk the extra, I dunno, forty, fifty steps. And I get to where I’m going, a whole thirty seconds later than my closer-parking Counterparts. But I like parking in a land far, far away on my own terms.

But The Texas Open didn’t want me to just park beyond the Fray. They wanted me to park at a different resort. Don’t worry. We have a shuttle. Let me see if I understand. I am in the middle of Hill Country, Texas. The land is vast. And there is plenty – and I mean plenty – of convenient, available parking. Only I’m not with The Open so I’m no longer able to park there. And I am now beholden to a shuttle (singular) ?! Not on my watch.

I appreciate the challenge. I’m not going to be bested by golfers. Not even on their home turf. Not anywhere. Okay, maybe on the golf course. But off the course, I wouldn’t take this sitting down. Especially not on a shuttle. No way.

So I fixed the problem. I told the event staff that I was “media”. And I said this with a straight face because, I mean, I do write a column. No, it’s not really about sports, per se. And it’s certainly not about golf, unless you count the handful of Jokes I make about golf. But it is a column and technically that’s media. And voila! Rob, a member of the media, Parks much, much closer than Rob, a guest of the hotel. Problem solved. Except…

Since I was not there to write about the tournament, claiming to be media was, well, in fact, a lie. And the funny thing about a lie… even if you know it’s a lie, and maybe especially if you know it’s a lie, if you repeat it over and over, after a while, you start to believe the lie. I mean, putting Talent, ability, work-ethic, results, and Awards aside, I am an actual journalist. True, I’m not interested in golf, not the game, not the event, not the fans, not the players, not the fashion, not the balls, nor the clubs that hit the balls. I was not interested in the course. Or the holes. I do like the flags that mark the holes but it was hard to imagine spinning that into a story. That said, I have since learned that a “real” journalist, in the interest of the “public good”, covers all kinds of crazy stories. Thus, I give you… golf.

The story I’m after is: When there are so many actual, good, cool, interesting, fun, exciting ways to spend your time… why on earth would you golf? So I asked. I really did. The following are actual Quotes from actual Golfers. They really are.

“I like golf because it’s not super strenuous.”

“It gets me out of the house.”

“I can play with friends.”

The wife of a golfer shared, “I like Bill playing golf because it gives me the opportunity to do the things that I like.”

Perhaps the biggest revelation was when someone responded to why he watches golf. “It helps me with Fantasy golf league.”

Yes, golf, a game that has many of the same physical demands of going for a walk, offers something for those looking for even less: Fantasy Golf!

With this kind of excitement afoot, in spite of my personal indifference, general antagonism and only the now Rudimentary understanding of the game itself, I decided to walk over (more steps!) And check out The Valero Texas Open in person. This is what I saw:

On the 30th of March, there were golfers and they did a competitive golf. On March 31st, they did it again. On April 1st, many of the same golfers made even more golf. And on Sunday, April 2nd, they produced the golf for the final time. The Winner was given a lot of money and a fancy trophy for being better than everyone else at golf. While the many golfers on hand had very different final scores, abilities, and appearances, each and every golfer had one thing in common: they all had exceptional parking.

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