I kept this pretty quiet, but I had the pleasure of shooting down to Dallas for the EA Sports party last night. Everyone knows Super Bowls are all about the galas, and every year I have to decide which party I will deign to attend. Playboy? Eh. ESPN? Yawn. Franzia? Not two years in a row. The reason I wanted to go to the EA Party was the debut of Tiger Woods PGA Golf 2011. Why this game? Well, it’s the first time Augusta National had been properly digitized. The Green Jackets have really loosened up over the years. Back in the day they wouldn’t even let the front nine on television, now any mullet with an X-box can tour every inch of Augusta National. I don’t really get into video games like I once did, but I make exceptions. I secured the invitation, plowed through the hors d’oeuvres, and hit up the simulator.
After a quick 52 (26 putts) on the front nine, I started moving my way through Amen Corner, striking the ball beautifully, as usual. I finally make it to number 12, the hole everyone wants to play, and I take a moment to drink it all in. I decide I am going to hit a big old, ozone-scraping pitching wedge down there. Just as I’m about to take it back, I hear this god awful noise from the station behind me, and a ball shoots through my field of vision and rattles around in the curtains to the right of my simulator screen. Everyone knows a cold shank when they see one, and I’m no stranger. I shake it off. No need to embarrass anyone, so I just go back to my own business. I’m getting ready to hit again, and another laser beam shoots across my bow. I realize I’m going to have to say something, but before I turn around, the serene tranquility of digital Augusta National is broken…
I turn around and see someone who looks a lot like Tiger Woods, except he’s wearing Dad jeans. I’m trying to get a look at the telltale off-color tooth when the unmistakable figure of Steve Williams come charging through the crowd. Bodies start bouncing around, and Tiger is standing there petulantly leaning on his 5-iron.
STEVIE: What’s wrong? I was talking to The Situation.
TIGER: I’m hitting it a little right.
ME (interrupting): A little right? That’s like saying Jim Nantz gets a little flowery during Masters telecasts.
TIGER (spinning to face me): What’s your problem?
ME: My problem is, I’m trying to massage a little pitching wedge down into number 12 here, and I’m afraid you are going to hit me in the left ear.
(Tiger looks around for Stevie, but he’s disappeared back into the crowd)
ME: Look, no offense, just aim left.
(I turn back around and finally get to hit my shot. It lands in the back fringe and checks back up nicely to the middle of the green. Should be able to make a 4 from there, no problem)
TIGER: How’d you do that?
ME (turning back around): Do what?
TIGER: I have no idea where the ball is going.
ME: I got that impression. You’re in quite the slump. Phil might pass you in the rankings this week.
TIGER: I hate Phil.
ME: Everyone hates Phil except for his bookie and all left-handed people.
TIGER (getting animated): Oh, he signs autographs. Big f*ckin’ deal. I could get divorced again, and I’d still be richer than him. He thinks he’s hot sh*t cause he flies his own planes. Who wants to fly their own plane? I have people do that sh*t for me. I bet he ties his own shoes. Man of the people. What a bunch of…
ME: (interrupting): Tiger, you are kind of embarrassing me right now, people are looking at us.
TIGER (yelling): He has t*ts!
ME: Right, you’re right man, settle down. Why don’t you tell me what you are working on.
TIGER: How should I know? I have 45 different swings. I can’t even knock down a 7-iron anymore. Sean’s got me working on this quasi stack and tilt horse bleep. I’m clueless, feels like I’m swinging a hockey stick.
ME: Why’d you go with Foley anyway?
TIGER: He coaches Sean O’Hair!
ME: Sean “H2O” Hair? That guy gives away big tournaments like he’s handing out flyers for the local gentleman’s club. Why the hell would you want to swing like him? What would Earl say?
TIGER: He’d probably beat my ass.
ME: Damn straight he would. He didn’t raise a tinkerer. What’d you waste all that time grooving a natural swing for if you were going to grow up to be Tom f*cking Kite. Just beat on the ball, make some putts, and you’ll be fine.
TIGER: It’s too late for that. I have 127 swing thoughts right now.
ME: I’ve been there. Can’t break an egg, swinging like that.
TIGER: What should I do?
ME (after a moment’s contemplation): Well, here’s the plan. You’re going to get on your mobile phone device. You are going to call MJ. Then you are going to call the Chuck Wagon. Hell, call Charles Oakley. Call anyone (not Federer), and tell them you are going to Vegas. Tell them it’s going to get weird. Real weird. Tell them to make sure all their personal affairs are in order, up to date wills, that kind of thing. Then you excuse yourself from this fiasco, hop in the G6, and go to Vegas. And, once you are there, you are going to burn that f*cker to the ground. Take a camera crew. You’ll want evidence. When the dust clears, if you are lucky, you’ll have forgotten every bullsh*t swing thought you came across in the last 10 years.
(Tiger stands in silence for a moment, then starts nodding his head vigorously)
TIGER: I like it.
ME: Damn right, now hustle out of here. I have to tap in for bogey.
(Tiger thanks me profusely, and rushes out of the party, cellphone already at his ear. I go back to business, 3-putt number 12 and then hit a scorching hook around the corner on 13. Eagle time!)
*Super Bowl Pick coming this afternoon.