July 17, 2008

All's Fair In Love And Golf

Q:__ I have three tickets to the Ryder Cup on Sunday, and my wife and daughter want to go. Neither has shown an interest in golf until now. Is this the best place to introduce them to golf?__

A: Your wife and daughter would probably have a great time attending Sunday's singles competition at the Ryder Cup, and their limited knowledge of golf, not to mention the throngs of people, shouldn't stop you from taking them. In fact, it could be the catalyst to get one, or both, interested in the game.

Your question, however, seems a bit curious. I wonder if you think taking your wife and daughter won't be as much fun as going with your buddies. Am I right?

Well, one way to make your family happy and save the Sunday action for your friends is to purchase tickets for one of the practice rounds and take your wife and daughter then. This way, they get to see famous golfers when the crowds won't be as big, and you and your buddies get to see if the United States can win the cup back. Everybody's happy.

Q:__ In other professional sports (such as track, tennis and figure skating) you often hear of top male and female athletes dating and marrying each other, but I can't think of one example in golf. Why aren't there more romantic relationships between top pros?__

A: One word: geography. The professional men and women in the sports you mention often compete at the same venue at the same time, but PGA and LPGA tour players rarely play in the same town during the same week. Consequently, they don't see each other much, though there have been a few romances involving tour players over the years (recent PGA Tour winner Ryuji Imada used to date LPGA Tour player Beth Bauer).

In most cases, even if they were to meet outside of work, it would be hard to maintain a relationship between two people who are constantly traveling to different parts of the country -- and the world. But it's a nice thought. Just imagine the talented offspring that an Ochoa-Garcia or Creamer-Scott marriage might produce!

Q:__ As a woman sales rep in a male-oriented industry, I've worked hard to become good at golf so that I can play with my colleagues and clients. But I have a problem: I hate gambling, and these guys play for ridiculous amounts of money. How can I be one of the gang without having to bet?__

A: I love to wager on the course because it makes things more interesting, but my friends and I never play for more than a $5 nassau. Any amount higher than that could make things uncomfortable -- especially if you're doing business with the person who just lost $200.

If you think respectfully declining to bet would cost you a spot in the next foursome, you might consider asking them to reduce the stakes to a friendly wager. Or, even better, to something you can put on your expense report, should you lose. For example, rather than playing $25 skins, suggest a best-ball match for dinner and drinks. Then it could qualify as a legitimate business cost.

To submit comments or questions, e-mail Stina at stina@golfdigest.com.