It may sound hard to believe, but I went to grade school with the guy who ratted out Julie Inkster last weekend at the LPGA Safeway Classic in Oregon.
Oh, I know that we don’t actually know the name of the knucklehead who did this – or even whether it’s a man or a woman – but either way, I went to grade school with this person. Maybe we all did.
You know the kid I’m talking about. Maybe even kids plural. So eager for personal advancement that they would rat our their best friend for sticking chewing gum under the seat or smoking in the bathroom (I went to a really tough grade school).
Coming a week after Dustin Johnson’s heinous rules infraction at the PGA, the spectre of another professional getting hosed by the arcane rules of golf somehow didn’t get quite as much play as you might have thought.
Leaving aside the question of the rule itself, are we supposed to like the idea of a guy sitting at home munching Cheetos on his couch torpedoing the tourney chances of yet another pro golfer?
If I may quote Charlie Brown: Arghhh! In the absence of a gender-neutral pronoun, I am stuck with referring to this creature as a “he,” but I suppose in theory it could have been a woman. I just doubt it.
I cannot for the life of me imagine what must go through this person’s head these days. Does it somehow make him feel important to have shoved a Hall of Fame golfer out of a tournament that might end up being one of her last best shots at yet another win in a sterling career? That’s not a prognostication, merely an acknowledgment that every opportunity to contend in golf is precious and elusive.
It’s one thing to accidentally run over your neighbor’s cat when you’re backing out of the driveway, but quite another if you squish the little dickens with your Buick by intentionally swerving to hit it. Not that I’ve done either one, but it’s merely a parallel that I draw to give a little perspective to what a nasty bit of business this was.
I really like Julie Inskter, but I’d be hopping mad about crapola like this even if it had been perpetrated on an LPGA player I didn’t care for, like, uh … OK, I can’t think of one, but that’s not the point.
I can’t shake the suspicion that a rabid, mindless adherence to rules that seem to defy common sense and any tiny fragment of justice is embraced because it’s so much simpler than having to apply any discretion to the matter.
We have draconian rules galore in the criminal justice system in this country, but that is mercifully balanced by our allowing judges to use their discretion and – dare I say it – judgment as a means of ensuring that the idea of justice doesn’t get lost in our exuberant caress of rules.
I don’t know about that anonymous wretch who snitched on Julie, but I for one don’t think that justice was served or even vaguely acknowledged in sacking her from a tournament because she put a donut on her 9-iron.
And as for the aforementioned tattletale, I hope that the golf gods conspire to throw every bit of nasty karma his way for the rest of his puny life. Plugged in sand traps, under rocks, stuck in trees, inelegantly swallowed up by vast expanses of yawning water hazards. All of it. He should have such foul luck on the golf course from now on that he’d be snapping clubs in half across his thighs and hurling putters into the woods.
But, I imagine there are rules against that sort of thing, too.