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It's Your Partner, and He's Choking!

To salvage his dignity—and your bet—you must administer aid immediately

June 2014

A foozled chip, the laying of sod over a simple pitch or sending an 18-inch putt wide of the jar isn't necessarily choking. Anybody can do that. Real choking has physical symptoms.

The victim might exhibit: profuse sweating, trembling limbs, refusal to make eye contact and slump-shouldered shame, much like a pet caught wetting the rug. He might manifest what Jack Nicklaus calls "globus hystericus, a freezing of the glottis." (Which means actual difficulty swallowing.)

And don't forget dryness of the oral cavity. After almost choking away the 1974 PGA Championship, Lee Trevino said, "I had enough cotton in my mouth to knit a sweater."

Remember the RICE acronym for sprained ankles (rest, ice, compression and elevation)? For choking, think of DISH (distract, irrigate, scold and hug). A four-step cure to swallowing the apple.

Distract

STEP 1: DISTRACT
Blurt something immediately. Don't let him dwell on the deed. Cry out: "It's only money, Chet!" Or, "That stroke looked like you were starting a lawn mower."

Irrigate

STEP 2: IRRIGATE
Summon the beverage cart, posthaste. Get the victim some water. Place a damp towel across his neck. If you have a pocket flask in your bag, now is the time to proffer a medicinal sip.

Scold

STEP 3: SCOLD
Admonish him. Yes, it's difficult. But you must get the poison out and reset the nervous sytem. Make it fast and dirty. Lean in close and rasp, R. Lee Ermey style, "That was a disgrace. Grow a pair!"

Hug

STEP 4: HUG
The coup de grace. A laugh, an arm around the shoulder and the words, "There's nobody I'd rather get my ass kicked with."

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