- Rick Reilly, Columnist, ESPN.com
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Two Down O'Connor, World's Most Avid Golf Gambler, was watching replays of Lucas Glover winning the U.S. Open and was severely disgruntled.
"Look at this!" Two Down said as he pointed at Glover, who was politely accepting the trophy on the 18th green at Bethpage Black. "I mean look how boring he is! He looks like he was just named Proctology Patient of the Year."
I barely arched an eyebrow. Two Down is the leader of our Saturday morning foursome -- The Chops -- and you do not want to give him a foothold.
"If I won a U.S. Freaking Open, I'd go absolutely electroshock, three-alarm, bat-guano nuts!" he continued. "I'd race around the green like I was on fire! I'd French kiss the old lady scorekeeper! I'd climb up the TV tower and swan dive into the crowd!"
I did not so much as look up from my Spamwich.
"Well, why not? In tennis, when Roger Federer wins a major, he falls backward like he just got poleaxed. If this were football, the guy would be doing the electric chicken right in front of the other team's bench, thumping his chest and taking a video of himself with his other hand. Hell, Ochocinco might stage a Broadway musical right then and there."
Another Chop -- Provisional -- hollered in from the euchre table.
"He's right! If I won the U.S. Open, I'd pick up the flagstick and fire it like a Tommy gun at the crowd. I'd have secretly hidden my cell phone in the hole and when the final putt went in, I'd answer it: 'This is the 2009 U.S. Open champion speaking. Which means you are not the 2009 U.S. Open champion. Sucks to be you!' I'd make my caddie give me a piggyback ride and I'd whip him like a jockey on a horse. I'd lay my bag on the ground, straddle it and then paddle with my putter. I'd waltz myself around the green like it really was the dance floor!"
This captured the attention of a third Chop -- Hoover, so named because he sucks worse than an entire vacuum plant -- and he jumped in with both cleats.
"If I just beat 155 guys, I'd be cocky as hell, like other jocks," Hoover said. "I'd extend my hand to the guy I'd just beaten like I was going to shake it and then, when he started to grab it, I'd pull it back. Psych! When the guy in the blazer came out with the winner's check, I'd snatch his toupee off and fling it like a Frisbee."
"No, no," Provisional countered. "I'd rip the mike out of Bob Costas' hands and say into the camera, very sincerely, 'I'd just very much like to thank (pause) my sweet butt for being so good! Nobody's hittin' these shots but me, you fools! You see anybody blockin' for me? Catching balls at the wall? Throwin' me a pass? It's just me out here, by myself, home slice, and I am flat-out a witch with these here Pings. I can do stuff with these things that would've gotten me buried up to my eyes in the desert during the Middle Ages!' "
I remained unmoved.
"And that night?" added Two Down, standing on the table now. "I'd go to Ricky Barnes' hotel room at 3 in the morning and be very sincere and contrite and go: 'Sorry to come by so late. But I just wanted to apologize for my behavior this afternoon on the 18th green. I really want to take this opportunity to say how sorry I am that (pause) you're such a gag artist!' Then I'd hold up the trophy, polish it on my butt and say, 'Take a look at how shiny it is! Really, look close. What do you see? A loser!!! Don't worry, though. I hear the food's great on the Nationwide Tour!' "
Hoover insisted he'd "get a stepladder out and cut down the flag, like they do in basketball. I'd get up there with a pair of scissors, cut one little piece off, climb back down, pretend I was handing the scissors to the guy behind me in line -- which was just me again -- and climb back up, until the thing was off. Then I'd dig the entire cup out with all the turf around it and stick it in my bag, as a keepsake."
"I'd take my 3-iron out and have my caddie kneel before me and I'd knight him like I was the queen," Provisional decided.
Two Down added: "Then I'd have my agent come out and hand out those ugly T-shirts and hats that all the NBA and college champion teams hand out the second they win the game. Only it would just be a picture of me on the shirts and hats, along with the phrase: '2009 U.S. Open Champion, Suckers!' in big swirly lettering. And then my caddie and I would wear them and we'd hug and fake taking each other's pictures with fake digital cameras."
There was finally quiet. They seemed to be spent and satisfied, so I spoke up at last.
"Yeah, that Lucas Glover's a real tool," I said. "By the way, what'd you guys shoot today?"
"103," said Two Down.
"111," said Provisional, "with one backside mulligan. And two kicks."
"137," said Hoover. "Net."
I paused and looked at them, palms up.
They all just blinked back at me.
Irony is lost on The Chops.
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