A couple of years ago I wrote about my cousin's wife, Barbara Young, who was attempting to play a golf course in each of the 50 states. I'm happy to report that she accomplished her mission wrapping things up in Alaska. Her non-golfing husband Jim was with her for most of her excursions, which is part of the reason she chose Alaska to be the last stop.
After hitting the links, she joined her husband in an indulgence of his passion - fishing. As much as I would like to duplicate her feat, I don't think it is going to happen. Instead I have decided to honor her tale by posting one of my own with a reference to a city or town from each state. After reading the story I will let you decide if there is any truth to it.
A few weeks ago I found myself in an Odd (W.Va.) situation. I put my Talent (Ore.) on the line in an 18-hole playoff to determine who would get the final spot in the United States Open. (Hey, I told you to wait until you read the story before deciding on its validity!)
The Rising Sun (Md.) was an omen, predicting that the day would be warm. Actually it was so hot that it felt like we were playing in a Kiln (Miss.). You could make the Assumption (Ill.) that I was nervous, but playing golf in any situation is no big Deal (N.J.), what with my game (come on play along with me here).
My opponent came to the first tee dressed to the nines. A pink satin shirt and mint green knickers, he even had on Argyle (Minn.) socks for crying out loud. He was a cross between John Daly and Payne Stewart, which would make him Jon Stewart! Someone had dressed him with tender Loving (N.M.) care. He probably was wearing Haines (Alaska) underneath, but I wasn't about to ask.
Let me be Blunt (S.D.) here. You would have bats in your Belfrey (Mont.) if you think I was going to play Niceville (Fla.) with this character. A Friendship (Tenn.) was not likely to develop and it had nothing to do with his Superior (Colo.) ability (I do know my game), or the fact that he was likely to administer a Licking (Mo.) to me that I hadn't seen since, well, since the last time I played.
I detested his Cavalier (N.D.) presence and his Carefree (Ariz.) attitude. There would not be a lot of Harmony (R.I.) in the air today. When he was introduced to the huge gallery (about seven people, I believe) he took a Bow (N.H.). I had heard through the Grapevine (Texas) that he was a little obnoxious. Now I knew for sure.
Well perhaps I should just concentrate on the course, which was filled with thousands of yards of Green Acres (Del.), separated by a Random Lake (Wis.) where my ball could take a Bath (Maine). The greens were smallish and as hard as Concrete (Wash.). Touch would be important. It was time to get it on.
My worthy component (a friend of mine uses that phrase - I don't know what it means either) striped his ball down the middle of the Fairway (Kan.) while I headed for the rough. I heard the guy say, "you'll have to Hackett (Ark.) out buddy." I'm already in trouble and I'm being called Buddy Hackett!
Needless to say I lost that first hole of match play and the next two as well. Would I have any chance at all? Maybee (Mich.), but I didn't have time to take a Trainer (Pa.) course or consult a Mystic (Conn.). If I were going to Excel (Ala.) in the biggest tournament of my life Bar Nunn (Wyo.), I would have to get in my opponents' head. Perhaps he had an Achilles (Va.) heel.
So I started singing songs from Woodstock (Vt.). Yes, I do know that the event was held in a different state, but I it was held in my era. My opponent though was too young and the less than opera-like singing didn't work. So I resorted to joke telling. "There once was a man from Nantucket (Mass.)" I began. That did it. He was distracted and I caught fire (not literally) as I came back to tie the match after 18 holes. We played on until Sunset (Utah) before we took a break due to darkness.
We continued the next day and tied every hole. On to day three and hole No. Ninety Six (S.C.). A long par 5, both drives were flawless. The second shots came to rest in Plainview (Neb.) on opposite sides of the fairway with my ball being a foot closer to the green. There the similarities ended.
My opponent had a clear look to the green and I, well, didn't. He hit his wedge and it looks great. He Beggs (Okla.) for the ball to go in the hole, but it comes up an inch short. A kick-in birdie. I need an up and down to keep the match going.
As I look over my shot I become depressed. Between my ball and the green is a Big Tree (N.Y.). I will have to punch under the tree or try to go over it. My choices are Hilo (Hawaii) or straight through the tree I suppose if you want to test that 90 percent air theory.
"Otay" (Calif.) I said to myself quoting Buckwheat, "it's no time to Quitman (Ga.)." If there was an Iota (La.) of New Hope (Ky.), it was the fact that I still had two shots to work with. I took a drink of Coldwater (Ohio) and decided to try to clear the tree. As the ball reached its Apex (N.C.) it disappeared into the very top of the tree.
Would you believe that sitting on a branch in that tree with a Birdseye (Ind.) view of the green was something that looked like a flying squirrel. (Seriously, would you believe that?) Well he was, and he swatted at my golf ball as it made a beeline for him and he sent the ball toward the green.
It hit and started rolling and did not stop until it found the bottom of the cup. Jackpot (Nev. - where else)! I was the Victor (Idaho)! I waited for the roar of the gallery and then remembered how many people were in it. What Cheer (Iowa) I wondered?
If you can trust me (I wouldn't), I was on my way to the U.S. Open. There is a chance that this story was a figment of my imagination, but then again it could have happened. You probably weren't one of the seven in the gallery.
Hey I gotta go. The phone's ringing. It's probably the President (U.S.) calling
Al Stephenson is The A-T's golf columnist.
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