Bill and I paired up to play a best-ball tournament, stableford scoring. Our adversaries were two Danes with one heck of a sense of humor which made the whole afternoon one enormous pleasurable memory.
We come to the 14th, a short 130 yd par-3, with a very small green on the other side of a pond. They had the honors, so one of them takes an iron, tees it up and hits it beautifully. The ball flies as it should, but, surprisingly to all, ends right in the water, 3 yards from the grass.
His partner follows, also with an iron, and lets that ball have whatever it deserved, because it cleared the water and fell on the green, about 3 yards, this time from the hole.
It was my partner’s turn. One inconvenience of being a lady in this sport, is that you get “discriminated” and have to tee off from somewhere else than from where the guys do. So the men do "their" thing first, and then we do "ours".
Bill, picks up his iron and away he whacks the ball. A repeat of what had just happened: one perfect stroke, one perfect flight, had it not this this minor flaw of falling into the water.
I also chose an iron, a 5, with which on a normal day carries me over that distance. I hit the ball and watched it fly, in that awe of the moment in which all of us who play golf incarnate into a Tiger and an Annika all at once, until... yes, you guessed it, right into that so much dreaded water.
Since I was on my tee-box, I took the next shot for the team, and yes, I was stubborn enough to maintain the same iron. And coherent enough to repeat the whole shot. Coherence is my middle name, and water is my game.
It’s what all golfers know as "feeding-the-lake-mode". you just keep doing it until you either run out of balls or the lake runs out of absorbing capability.
Amazing how stupidly stubborn the human being can be, so I do thank that we were in a pair’s game and couldn’t just tee one ball after another as it has happened so often. So Bill walks to his bag and changes irons. Tees up the ball, and looks at his club again. His eyes fiery with rage. Walks back to the bag, and this time takes out a wood. And like a raging bull he swings that club smacking that ball as if his life depended on it.
All out eyes went right on to the green to see if it landed there, or if it would just ignore it and fly over. But the ball fell on the fairway on the right side of the pond. Unexpectedly to all, but to Bill. Only sissies play there. It landed right of the green, about thirty yards from the flag.
What a brilliant play! What emotional control and rationale in a moment of enormous stress! We all applauded the decision, and Bill silently whispered to me that if I ever told a soul about how he had ran away from a 90 yd pond with a shameful 3 wood, he would use it again to bang my head with it. Don’t worry Bill, your secret is safe with me! I won't tell a soul!
I chipped onto the green, a yard from the hole, and Bill sank it with the graceful ease of the hero of the moment that we all made him feel like.
The other guys 2-putted for par, and we all walked off with huge smiles on our faces, marking the pars on both cards. Yes, we all overlooked the fact that Bill and I had sank 3 balls.
It wasn’t a par, but a double bogey. But the excitement of the moment, or for whatever reason, it simply didn’t occur. The game ended, checked the scores, handed in our cards and waited for the final results.
We came around about half-way down, which is pretty good, said our good-byes and off we went our way. Two days later, Bill's brilliant stroke crossed my mind again, and I smiled thinking of how that big man had taught me such a nice lesson, when it hit me: we didn’t take the penalty!
I immediately called Bill and told him what I had just remembered. Damn, you right, he said, we all just got caught up with the moment and unconsciously just compared their 1 ball in the pond with our 3, and if they had made par, we didn't! We have to call the club and have them rectify the whole thing! But then again, he said, only WE know about this,. MAYBE the other guys might have thought about it also. But that's a big MAYBE. If we go and tell the club now, they will look really bad, because they were our markers and should have been paying attention. If we say anything, it’s not confessing, it's telling! Showing everybody else that they didn’t give a hoot about what they were doing. A long silence followed.
Yeah… I said, I guess we best just shut up. I mean, it’s not like we won prizes or what. The truth will only bring us a couple of places down and THEIR reputation will be seriously harmed. But, what if they have remembered it like we did, and are now thinking what a couple of cheats we are?!?
We could call them, but if we do, we will be forcing them to confess, to come public and do the club calling themselves, being branded as sloppy. And if they don't say we told them, WE will be branded as cheats. Yep, if we call, they will come out indeed as sloppy, if they call, they continue to be sloppy and we become cheaters. If we remain in silence, then our consciences will eat our hearts away, and every innocent look from anybody at the club will seem guilt-filled. This is totally a lose-lose situation. What do we do Bill?!?
No, I haven’t called the club. Haven't confessed my crime. Only to my accomplice. Don’t know if I will, or not. Most likely I will, but that is not is relevant here.
The important thing is that I know that I’m wrong, and although I quite clearly know what the only rightful option is, I’ve up to this moment, CONSCIOUSLY taken the wrongful one.
And we’re talking just about a golf penalty, not a dead child.
And I do have my vacations to continue with…