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The best golf writer on the planet returns with his funniest book ever.
Dan Jenkins virtually invented the golf novel with Dead Solid Perfect, his rollicking account of the life and times of touring pro Kenny Lee Puckett. After thirty years of waiting for the follow-up, Jenkins returns to the world of big-time golf in The Money-Whipped Steer-Job Three-Jack Give-Up Artist and finds a world where endorsements and course fashion matter more than the side bet. His hero, Bobby Joe ...
The best golf writer on the planet returns with his funniest book ever.
Dan Jenkins virtually invented the golf novel with Dead Solid Perfect, his rollicking account of the life and times of touring pro Kenny Lee Puckett. After thirty years of waiting for the follow-up, Jenkins returns to the world of big-time golf in The Money-Whipped Steer-Job Three-Jack Give-Up Artist and finds a world where endorsements and course fashion matter more than the side bet. His hero, Bobby Joe Grooves, is a hell-raising two-iron-wielding rogue trying to turn his one annual tournament win and considerable Texas charm into a spot on the Ryder Cup team. Standing between Bobby Joe and his little spot of golf heaven are two ex-wives, a girlfriend, various pious PGA officials, and his embarrassing lack of a career major. A book that will teach you more about golf history than any weepy sunset-over-the-eighteenth-green retrospective, The Money-Whipped Steer-Job Three-Jack Give-Up Artist is an uproarious portrait of what it’s really like to play on the PGA Tour. It’s vintage Dan Jenkins.
Say hello to your light-running money-whipped steer-job three-jack give-up artist.
This is pretty good. Man talking to himself. But it's me, all right. Your no-heart Mother Goose who blowed about $80,000 in the last round of the Hawaiian Open today.
Lost my swing, lost my tempo. Tempo Retardo. Also, I played too fast. I mean shit, the way I raced around out there you'd have thought I was a pickup truck on the way to happy hour.
You don't have to stick a thermometer up my ass to find out I shot a fever-running 73. Just look at the scores in tomorrow's paper and you'll find a dunce named Bobby Joe Grooves tied for nineteenth over here at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
"Over here," by the way, don't get it done. Not when you're talking about Hawaii. The first time I came over here I didn't think much about it. I just hopped on a plane, flew to Honolulu, got off, inhaled a bottle of perfume, golfed my ball, hauled ass. Perfume is what the air in Hawaii smells like when it don't smell like suntan lotion.
Then one day I looked at Hawaii on a globe, and whoa—it ain't near nothing. There's about six thousand miles of lateral hazard on all sides of it. You're seriously off the fairway when you're over here, and I think that's one reason nobody in Hawaii knows anything about what's going on anywhere else in the world, especially in America.
Your basic Hawaiian wears shorts, sandals, and a shirt that looks like Granddad ate dinner in it six times. He'll light a torch, paddle a canoe, and grill a fish for you. And at the drop of a mai tai, he'll sing to you about a Waikiki moon, which, for my money, don't look much different than the one that comes up over Fort Worth, Texas. But he's nice and sweet-natured and wants to take you to see his fern grotto and his slippery slide and his Killykooky Canyon.
Yeah, right, Punchbowl. Wait till I get this lei around my neck and I'll go with you.
One thing they have over here is good souvenirs, though. I say you need to remember where you been in your travels. Souvenirs do that. Souvenirs and photos of yourself with movie stars who've since shrunk up.
The other day was I was poking around in one of those Waikiki gift shops and I bought me this old dinner menu. It was from the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and dated December 7, 1941. Not exactly an incidental date in your history of mankind.
Dinner that evening at the Royal Hawaiian consisted of a fruit cocktail, consomme soup, hearts of lettuce salad with French dressing, chicken casserole with glazed carrots, string beans, and fig fritters, and coconut layer cake for dessert—all for $1.25.
The menu also says that the EVENTS OF THE DAY are going to be a sunset serenade by the Royal Hawaiian glee club, a modern hula exhibition by Annie Annini and her Six Hula Maids, and music by Rollie Beelby's Royal Terrace Orchestra.
That was all canceled, of course, when the Yellow Peril showed up for breakfast. Too bad. Those glazed carrots and fig fritters might have knocked down some Zeros.
You can't talk to most haoles over here either. A haole is your white guy dropout from the Mainland. He's generally too stoned to talk at all. Or he has a surfboard under his arm and the only thing he can say is "Grab your stick, dude, there's a swell at Pipeline."
You hear that the Tahitians discovered Hawaii. Okay, I've looked at Tahiti on a globe too, and I'll tell you what—it was uphill all the way.
I was talking about it the other night with this haole bartender, name of Denny. A scruffy kid with a far-off gaze. Looked like he was working his way through dopefiend school.
I was in a waterfall joint on Kalacomma Boulevard, hydrant water washing down from the ceiling behind the bar indoors, make you think it's raining outside. Tropical shit.
These types of bars are all over Hawaii, and to be honest, they're what I like best about the place, being a fan of old flicks on TV. Sit there in my blue Sahara golf shirt and khaki pants and loafers and play like I'm a South Seas drunk. Play like I'm a guy in a grimy white suit who needs a shave, sitting there smoking under a ceiling fan, waiting for some kind of Rita Hayworth to walk in the door.
I asked Denny, "You get a lot of South Seas drunks in here?"
"Get you what?" he said.
I said, "I put the over-and-under on the Tahitians trying to get to Hawaii at five hundred years, what do you think? If they'd taken a little longer a Shrine convention would have gotten here first."
Didn't hear me or didn't get it. He was busy sticking umbrellas in everybody's drink but mine. A Junior and water don't do umbrellas, I told him. When I'd asked him for a Junior, he'd only squinted, puzzled.
"Mr. Justerini," I said.
"Who?" he said.
"If you don't have J and B, I can do Curtis—they taste the same."
"Cutty," I said. "You been over here a long time, huh?"
Fucking San Diego burnout.
There's more to Hawaii than Honolulu, of course. I've whapped it around pretty much everywhere over here, so I'm able to drop some geography on you.
You've got your Oahu. That's where they invented Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and surfers. You've got the "Big Island" of Hawaii, where they invented volcanoes. You've got Lanai, where they invented pineapples. You've got Molokai, where they used to keep the lepers back when people caught leprosy. You've got Maui. That's where movie stars or people trying to look like movie stars go to hibernate in public. You might see dueling Sharon Stones standing in a snack bar line on Kapalooey. Last, you've got your Kauai. That's the prettiest of the islands, I believe. It's where you can scare up Grand Canyons and waterfalls and enchanted beaches, and it's never bothered me any that Kauai is where they manufacture most of the rain that goes to Seattle and Portland.
No question Hawaii has more paradise scattered around than your rural Oklahoma. But in my case it's hard to appreciate paradise when your golf game sticks a fork in you.
I know what people think. They think the $40,000 I won in Hawaii beats a young dose any day, and they're right. But take away my four three-jacks on the last nine and I'd have been up there in the $150,000 neighborhood.
Or take away those four three-jacks plus the steer-job tee ball that was so low and thin it would have made skid marks on I-20. It left me where I couldn't reach the par-five thirteenth in two and grab a gimme birdie. I don't piss those five drops and I'm up there in contention for the whole deal.
But no. What I come up with is a 73, which is an okay number if you're an offensive lineman, but it don't do squat for a man who dons his Softspikes for a living.
I can't play a track like Waialae anyhow. It's too easy. I know I'm supposed to like it because one of those respected architects designed it. Seth Raynor is who it was. I know about Seth Raynor because I like to read golf history. I like golf history, as a matter of fact, better than any other kind of history, including wars I've heard of.
Other than Ben Crenshaw, who lives in the past and wishes his balls were gutta-percha, nobody else on the tour can jack with me on golf history. Ask me who was runner-up to Bobby Jones in the 1926 U.S. Open at Scioto and I'll hit you with Joe Turnesa. Ask me where Johnny Revolta won the 1935 PGA and I'll hit you with Twin Hills in Oklahoma City. Or ask me who Seth Raynor was and I'll tell you he was a man who got his start working with Charles Blair Macdonald, the legendary architect who designed the National Gold Links and everything else out on Long Island except the stock portfolios.
To me, Seth Raynor's best work is the Country Club of Fairfield in Connecticut. I once did an outing up there for socialites. It's short but covered up with charm. But you can't join Fairfield, I hear, unless you've got a photo of your granddaddy sitting on Queen Victoria's knee.
Waialae's another story. Not even interesting. A diddy-bump layout with a bunch of tall skinny palms on every hole and pineapples for tee markers. Somebody's idea of atmosphere.
Waialae is out past Diamond Head in a residential area for people who've got big-time stroke. The Beverly Hills of Honolulu. Guys shoot fifteen and twenty under on it for four rounds. Somebody's always coming in with a 63 when I've played my ass off to get in with a 68. Hell, Julius Claudius even shot 60 on it a few years ago. Julius Claudius is what some of us call Davis Love III, that Roman numeral chasing his name around.
I'll probably skip Honolulu next year unless I can tie in an outing, rob some corporate sponges. Round of golf, dinner, Q-and-A, scoop twenty-five grand—Buenos noches, coaches.
SO WHAT it is, the tournament's history and I'm in my room at the Kalahammer Hotel, which is near Waialae. I was in a lagoon room where I could step out on the balcony and tell the pet dolphins about my birdies and bogeys. They bob up and look at you like they think they're one of you or you're one of them. I could have gone out and sought some nighttime entertainment but I've had about all the hooky-wooky I can take.
I could have been over here even longer if I'd been eligible for the Mercedes on Kapalooey. The Mercedes is our first stop on the tour every year. It's the old Tournament of Champions. You have to win a tournament to qualify for it, and I didn't. I won't comment on why I didn't win anything last year, except to say it was obviously a plot on the part of your left-wing liberal nutbags to give America away to the sorry folks.
If I'd been over here for two weeks I'd have really been up to my overlapping grip in raw fish, pineapples, grass skirts, little grass shacks, ukuleles, and poi.
Poi. There's a deal for you. It's something they eat in Hawaii and pretend it don't look like putty and don't taste like rubber cement.
I'd been warned to avoid poi. I'd succeeded for three years. But I finally got hold of some two nights ago. I was having a cocktail and letting this Hawaiian babe work me at the bar under the banyan tree at the Moana. She was wearing a painted-on blue T-shirt and tight jeans and possessed all the physical attributes that could make a man with no moral code fall deeply in love for twenty-four hours.
She wasn't a brown midget either, although you could tell she had some tan blood in her. Off-duty cocktail waitress is what she was. Had a name I couldn't say without grinning. Louleenie is close.
I was patient enough to listen to her tell me a bunch of Hawaiian lore, like I'm supposed to give a shit about Prince Kamookymocky and outrigger canoes and lava rocks.
Somewhere along the way she got me to take a bite of poi. Just try it, she said. Man, you want to talk about a gag. I might as well have been standing over a three-foot putt to win the Masters.
"You like?" she said.
I couldn't speak. I was busy trying to swallow that crap. It took me two or three minutes.
I finally got it down, and I was so hot at her for even suggesting I taste it in the first place, I said, "You stupid wahine bitch, I wouldn't fuck you with a Samoan's dick."
I probably should have said bubble-head driver. It would have been more "politically correct" in case she was some kind of bleeding-heart clown. But that poi had me out the door. I left her sitting there, rack and all.
I figured her not getting to hukilau a big-time PGA touring pro was punishment enough.
While I was three-jacking around the pineapples, the tournament got itself won by the crowd-pleasing Knut Thorssun, friend of the stars, bulge of the shapely adorables, Sweden's gift to morons in the galleries.
Everybody knows Knut. Next to Tiger Woods and maybe Cheetah Farmer, our newest child star, you have to say Knut is golf's most popular fellow. Him and his long tee ball and long blond hair and tight-fitting pants that often show off his bulge, the kind you see on a ballet dancer.
I know for a fact the phony asshole pads his bulge, and I'd guess more than one bimbo has discovered it. This doesn't matter to Knut, though. All he cares about is his image with the public. Mr. Golden Boy Long Ball Wagon Tongue.
Knut swamped all of us at Waialae. He set a tournament record of 270 when the cup wouldn't get out of the way of his ball. In his third-round 64 he only took twenty-three putts, which can sometimes get your ass kicked if it don't get you sent to prison.
Knut used to be a good friend. That was when he first came on our tour. He was just a simple Swede who never said much and laughed out loud at all the wrong things. If you've ever known any Swedes, you know their idea of humor is somebody pee-peed in the hot tub. Laugh har, har, bang fist on table. That's Knut Thorssun for you.
I started playing practice rounds with him when nobody else would, and when I found out he knew how to play bridge I invited him into our regular Tuesday night bridge game.
Talk about gin all you want to, but bridge is the best card game to gamble at. Gin's nothing but pick up the cards and hit the silk. Bridge is about half-cerebral.
We traveled together for a while, and Knut being a tall, broad-shouldered, trim-waisted, blue-eyed guy with his blond mane, I have to confess he helped me get laid a few times—I swooped his culls.
But all that was before Knut won himself the PGA at Oak Hill and the British Open at Birkdale—two majors to his credit—and became a European Ryder Cup star and therefore a favorite of the idiots among the sportswriters and the morons among the fans.
Suddenly he's Knut the Cute, Knut the Nuke. His all-time favorite headline in a moron Florida paper was THOR MORE NUCLEAR! Morons in the galleries started wearing buttons that said Knut's Brutes, and no-slack dirty legs started showing up in T-shirts that said Thor's Whores.