Sunday, November 20, 2005

Possible column

Hey folks. It's been a crazy weekend, and I'm slightly fried. We're pushing the layout up a couple days to make time for the Thanksgiving holiday, and tomorrow, I've got to send a couple stories to press that don't exist yet.

So I came up with this as a possible column tonight after working for a while on the story on the opening of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. See what you think.

Extreme golf

Every once in a while, a complete stranger learns that I work as a sports writer, and sometimes they'll say, "Hey, I've got something you should write about."

These ideas are uniformly bad. Most of the time it's something barracks-related, like "write an article about how the gutter above my room leaks" or "do a story about how the guy who lives next door to me plays his music too loud" or, pretty often, "write something about me."

However, I was offered an outstanding idea while sitting at a restaurant Saturday afternoon, watching college football.

"I've got a great idea for you," the stranger said. "You know how it's incredibly boring to watch golf on television? I know how they can make it more interesting: make it a full-contact sport."

It was one of those moments where the conversation around you immediately ceases, and everyone looks. This, I thought, was a brilliant idea.

It's not that I have anything against golf. I don't golf, but I can see how it might be enjoyable to play. However, it is certainly not enjoyable to watch on television. They have bass fishing shows on TV, too, and that's completely beyond me. I mean, these are pretty pastoral activities -- they don't make for very riveting television. Fishing's only fun to watch if the guys are fishing for sharks.

But think of mixing the violence inherent to one of pro football's offensive lines with the relatively boring action of golf. Those teeing-off moments would be a lot more exciting, right?

"Tiger Woods is setting up to tee off on hole three here at Pebble Beach... Oohhh! And he's sacked! Thats a two-stroke penalty, and Tiger loses 20 yards."

Plus, golfers would have to come up with some more multi-layered strategies. Instead of just watching their opponents putt their way to par, they'd be running interference.

"Michelle Wie is on the green now, but she better watch out for the blitz here or she could get into serious trouble."

Provided you don't use the motorized carts, it's possible to get a good walk in during a full round of golf, right? But imagine playing in a full set of protective pads! Just making it to the 18th hole would be an athletic feat. Golfers would have to add a cross-training regimen to their slotted times at the driving range.

Also, the primary piece of equipment used in golf is called a "club." I think it's high time we started using it in a way commensurate with the name (has anyone else ever had the temptation to misuse croquet mallets, or is that just me?)

We certainly don't need to change golf. We'll leave the PGA alone. All these new rules could be incorporated into something like the abyssmally short-lived Extreme Football League. It would be the new, Road Warrior version of golf, and instead of a green blazer going to the winner, the Extreme Golf Association's highest award would be a beat-up leather bomber jacket studded with chrome metal spikes.

Purists will surely scoff at the idea of full-contact golf. But worse ideas have been successful and even made people fabulously wealthy -- aren't we on season 11 of Survivor?


UPDATE: Open Post at Mudville!