Mike T. Limpag

Fair Play

BACOLOD City - In less than 12 hours last Monday, I tried to be Tiger Woods but failed, and I tried not to be him and succeeded.

Let me explain.

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I’m covering the 63rd PAL Interclub and joined the media division for the first time.  I would have earned the Rookie of the Year honors (there was no other rookie) but

instead got a DNF.

Golf is fun. It’s very, very fun.

Also, it helps if you’d remember to pay attention.

There’s a reason why there are contraptions called the golf cap, umbrella and arm socks—to protect the golfer from the sun.

It was about a few holes into my first excursion on the greens when I realized—as I was looking at everybody else—that I was the only one not wearing a cap.  Even the caddies have them.  Everybody else also had an umbrella

All I had was a borrowed golf set, a donated pair of golf shoes and guts and a day after my first 18 holes, it hurts to smile and my arms look like a medium-rare steak.

Because of my recurring insomnia, I had no sleep when I left Cebu and I was getting a bit wobbly going to the Binitin course and was seriously thinking of backing out.

I was also afraid that I was going to embarrass myself on the course.

Thankfully, my first tee shot did exactly that and I thought that since I have already embarrassed myself, I’d just get on with the program.

I was with rules man Jake Ayson, Pareng Al S. Mendoza and Nimrod Quiñones, and I was the last to tee off at Hole 14, and my shot, instead of going north, went east, straight to the next green.

I had an 11 and 10 in the first two holes, a score so bad there’s no term for it. The worse I’ve encountered on the net is a quintuple-bogey, or going five strokes above par.

I went six and seven. I think I also five-putted from five feet.

I also had a second shot that went two inches and a third shot that missed the ball entirely—complete with pretending that it was just a practice shot.

How did I do overall? Well, let’s just say a 67 is a pretty good round. I scored that in just nine holes—despite a few “rules changes.”

But I had a bogey, too. It should have been a par but my putt lipped out.

I also had a great time learning a lot from my flight mates. Sir Jake kept telling me to “just remember my name, ‘Ayson the ball’”, while Pareng Al, a former winner of the media division, taught me to compensate for the beginner’s slice.

Sir Nimrod, when I told him that I’d best back out, said simply, “No, just enjoy the game.”

My caddy, too, was a god-send. He forced what I reckon was two weeks’ worth of lessons in the first six holes, when I was hitting double digits.

I thought I was getting the hang of it and I already got on the green on my second shot in a couple of par 3s and I was starting to think that a birdie isn’t too farfetched.

But golf is funny. It was after that moment that I hit—in succession—a three-inch second shot and that one that missed everything.

Despite my miserable play, and getting nearly well-done on the sunny side up, I had fun.  At least, I didn’t hit anybody—like one Manila writer did—though I nearly got hit.  I only remembered that incident when one Cebu Country Club player told me the other day, “Hapit taka maigo sa Binitin no?”

That night, after hunting for the largest bottle of Omega I could find, one of those friendly-folks-who-approach-total-strangers— our compound here is in place similar to our Cebu office—tried to make a deal.

How did I do on that play?

Let’s just say that I may never be able to play like Tiger on the course, but off it, I reckon, I could teach him a thing or two.

(mikelimpag@gmail.com)