If last night's Hall of Fame induction ceremony reminds us of anything, it's that to play the game at the highest level -- heck, to play it at all -- requires a gigantic sense of humor. The Class of 2012 not only the provided the most polished ceremony I remember, but the the funniest as well. If you haven't watched it, you must.
The tent poles of the evening were the acceptances of Dan Jenkins and Peter Alliss, of course, but every inductee seemed intent on proving that golf is a game one may take seriously, but should not take solemnly.
Even the stolid Sandy Lyle, describing a chaotic interview early in his career after a disappointing second place, brought down the house when he recalled his this exchange with a television reporter.
Jenkins, 82, the only living writer ever inducted to the Hall, was
the lead-off hitter. He said he was moved be part of such a wonderful
"It's a great club. I'm particularly pleased to be taken as a vertical human."
described his semi-famous status as a writer with a story about a
fellow at an airport who kept saying, "I should know you. Who are you?
Who are you?"
"Just a guy catching a plane," replied Jenkins.
"No, no really. Who are you?" the man insisted.
"Okay, I'm a writer for a national sports magazine and the author of a few bestsellers."
"Well," the man shot back, "you don't have to be sarcastic about it!"
recalled his less-than-intense practice regimen. "I'd hit seven decent
shots in 10, didn't see the point in going on...I knew how it worked. I
want to tell Tiger that."
"I've enjoyed it all and never worked at it," said Alliss of his playing
and broadcasting career. "I've just waffled along, been observant, and
things have always seemed to come my way." Never let 'em see you sweat,
It was that relaxed theme that Stacy
reiterated. "Coming from a big family [10 children], I learned a lot.
Things don't have to be perfect. You can do okay with 'almost.'"
Stacy and Phil Mickelson, like all of the inductees, were especially
grateful to the family members who had supported them.
Phil said his wife Amy really didn't know much about golf when they first met. One Friday he reported that he'd missed a cut.
"What does that mean, you missed the cut?"
"It means I'll be coming home to spend the weekend with you."
"I like this missing the cut," Amy replied.
Alliss concluded, uproariously, with a single-fingered "sign-off" to the teacher who told his parents:
"Peter has a brain but he seems loathe to use it. I fear for his future."
the leaders of the game will meet in another Golf 20/20 session to
discuss the sport's future--and ways to keep you in the game and attract
more of you to it. They'll talk about the First Tee's core values and
the sport's health benefits. They'll talk about speeding things up and
making fees more affordable.
But last night reminded us all that perhaps the most important goal is
to keep things light. It's a funny game. And that's a good thing.