October 22, 2007

The Angry Golfer

This USGA Handicap Is Costing Me Money

An 8-handicapper shot back-to-back 74s on me last weekend, the latest in a series of fairway robberies at the 5,800-yard mousetrap we call the L'il Brown Dog. My wallet has been cherry-picked all year, which shouldn't surprise anyone whose 3.8 index fails to reflect a three-month skid best described as the summer of 81. This latest pencil-whipping, however, has forced me to consider hiring Pete Rose's accounting firm to post my scores.

Please, it isn't sandbagging. We're talking about self-defense.

I suppose I could find my own pigeons, but I'd rather lose to bandits in good company than collect from guys who spend the day taking illegal drops and giving themselves seven-footers for triple. There's just one thing I can't understand: How come my pile of 10-overs has me giving at least two strokes a side to guys who are beating me straight up?

I took this question to my pro, who called up my GHIN profile and pointed to an easy-to-miss box in the lower-right corner. I don't remember anything about the 73 I shot in a tournament round 522 days ago--before I started whiffing my driver, skulling my bunker shots and missing half my four-footers--but the computer has a very long memory.

That four-hour burst of competence back in May 2006 will cost me hundreds of dollars during the two years it remains on my record. Kind of like a speeding ticket, just a bit more expensive.

Columns by The Angry Golfer -- a.k.a. Golf World columnist John Hawkins -- appear exclusively on GolfDigest.com.