All I wanted to do was find the weather forecast on one of the few television channels we manage to pull in via our Radio Shack rabbit ears. Nothing was coming in very well, except for a golf tournament. So I paused there for a few minutes. Sometimes the networks give a short weather update during the commercials and it wouldn't kill me to watch a little golf in the mean time. On a scale of 1 to 10, my interest in golf is about a three and my knowledge of it is even lower. I know what par means and once I drove a golf cart on Put-in-Bay. That's about it.
The tournament I was watching was actually the British Open that was being played in Scotland. The commentators showed a diagram of the course and explained why it is particularly difficult. I was mildly entertained, but what about the weather in my neck of the woods? Just as I was ready to move the antenna and check another station, Sergio Garcia took a mighty swing, the ball went flying and it bonked a spectator right on the neck! The camera zoomed in on a young man sitting in some scruffy grass, who was looking a bit dazed. I may be mistaken, but I don't believe Sergio yelled, "FORE". A small crowd formed around the stunned spectator. I think they were lawyers.
I believe it was the next day when I turned on the T.V. again and the British Open was still on. Tiger Woods (the only golfer I could pick out of a lineup) shifted back and forth on his feet, pulled the club back and whacked the golf ball into oblivion. Well, it didn't make it all the way to oblivion. Instead, the ball ricocheted right off of a woman's head. One of the commentators said something like, "Wow! Did you hear that? It conked her right on the head!" I heard it. It sounded like someone trying to crack open a coconut. She ended up with a couple stitches and a golf glove signed by Tiger. Sergio's victim received a signed glove and a signed ball. I would have held out for more ... maybe a signed golf cart.
Golf appears to be the only sport that's more dangerous for the spectators than the players. I'm surprised the crowds aren't required to wear some kind of protective gear. After seeing two people take hits in the short time I watched I could hardly take my eyes off the screen. I had no idea golf was so morbidly exciting ... like NASCAR.
Of course, aside from the occasional head/ball contact, it was the announcers that made the game even remotely interesting for someone like me. One of them said the word "golf" is an acronym from way back that stands for "Gentleman Only Ladies Forbidden". In view of the games' obvious dangers, I almost believed it. But after checking an official golf Web site, I found that it is merely an urban legend. "Golf" is actually derived from a Medieval Dutch word for club, "kolf". By the 16th century, the Scots had transformed it to "golf". And there you have it.
Anyway, in view of my newly found interest in the sport, we've started playing Extreme Golf at my house, using croquet mallets. Instead of holes, we place wickets all over the yard. Instead of little sissy golf balls, we use croquet balls. It's like golf on steroids. We're still perfecting the rules. Here's what we have so far. No playing through my perennial garden, always yell, "Fire in the hole!" before teeing off, and spectators spectate at their own risk.