After taking a long, hard look in the mirror, I have to admit that in my mind, beyond any question, I’m officially goin stir-crazy.
So, I’ve decided to continue my journey deep into my memory vault of experiences from the many years I traveled the Tour. Let’s start with the time I asked Tiger Woods and David Duval what they knew about underwater hockey.
In December of 2000, the World Golf Championships World Cup was held at the Juan B. Segura Golf Course in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a partnership format, where each qualifying country sent a team of two players. Representing the United States were David Duval and Tiger Woods.
It was my first trip to this part of the globe and it turned out to be quite an experience. I arrived a day early to give me some time to explore. Little did I know it would be a lot more than I bargained for.
It was a Sunday, the streets were not too crowded, and only a few shops were open, primarily for the tourist trade. I started the day as a window-shopper, not looking to purchase anything, but then I discovered a men’s shop. In the display window was a full-length purple fur coat. Back then I had purple lenses in my glasses, and wore a lot of purple golf shirts, so I couldn’t resist trying this thing on. Guess what? It was a perfect fit, and despite many solid reasons not to make the purchase, I just couldn’t resist.
The clerk said he would prefer cash, and I was pointed towards an ATM machine at the bank across the street. I completed my transaction with no problem, but couldn’t find a way out. Nothing I did seemed to open the secure door, and, of course, none of the instruction signage was in English. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t figure out how to open the door. Passersby on the street just stared at me and moved on like I was an animal on display.
A good 20 minutes went by before another customer showed up, and opened the door to set me free. After all that, I decided not to buy the full-length purple coat, but did have my photo taken, and used it for my U.S. Open press credential badge.
The next day, Monday, it was time to head to the tournament and the PGA Tour provided us with a car and driver. It turned out the gentleman I was driving with had quite a tale to tell. As we struck up a conversation — he wanted to practice his English — he told me that he was the second most popular athlete in Argentina, only to Diego Maradona, one of the greatest soccer players of all time. You can imagine my surprise when he said he was also one of the world’s best underwater hockey players. I bet you’ve never heard of underwater hockey. For sure, I hadn’t, but evidently it’s played in 36 different countries including the U.S., and holds a world championship every other year.
So, later in the week as the tournament progressed, I was set to interview David Duval and Tiger Woods, who were in the lead. I knew that Tiger and David had been asked just about every question under the sun, so I thought for sure this question would be a first.
“Gentlemen, what do you know about underwater hockey?” I asked. Tiger quickly replied he had never heard of it, but David’s response was priceless: “What do they do? Melt the ice?”
I suppose if I’m prepared to wear a purple fur coat, then there could be no surprise I’d ask that question. By the way, they went on to win that 2000 World Golf Championships World Cup, and we’ve had many laughs over that question and answer in the years that followed.
Now, do I get your vote that I am indeed certifiably stir-crazy?