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Heckler got best of Love

Davis Love III is a poster child for the pampered sport of golf. Playing against Tiger Woods last weekend in the PGA’s version of man-to-man basketball, Love Number Three pretty much blamed a heckler for costing him the match. It seems someone wearing a black Nike cap kept shouting “No Love!” whenever Love approached the ball.

“I wasn’t going to play anymore until somebody got kicked out,” Love told reporters, “because he had already cost me a hole.” Love was referring to the 2nd hole, when a “No Love!” cry was heard just as Love was preparing to hit the golf ball.

“I wasn’t going to put up with it…You know, I don’t care if I win or lose. You’ve got to respect the game, and you’ve got to respect the players in the game. He didn’t deserve to watch golf.”



No you don’t and yes he did.

Let’s start with the respect part of Love’s argument. I appreciate anyone who can hit a tiny, white, dimpled ball 300 yards toward a gopher-sized hole with a flag planted inside. It’s not easy to do.




I also appreciate anyone who can hit a 100-mile-per-hour fastball 400 feet over a centerfield fence. Steroids or no steroids.

Respect, however, is quite another thing. I respect our men and women fighting in Iraq. I respected my parents when they were alive. I respected most of my teachers, our flag, my priest, cops and anyone who stands by his convictions, however illgotten they may be.

The game of golf and the men and women who play it don’t qualify – at least not until they allow hecklers on the course.

You want real pressure, watch an NCAA basketball tournament game. Let’s see if Davis Love Number Three could make a putt with 500 hecklers stomping feet and waving white hand-clappers in his face, as they do during a free-throw attempt.

Let’s see him hit a fastball in the bottom of the 9th inning of a World Series game as 50,000 fans are on their feet with flashbulb-popping cameras. Or, how about trying to call signals as the visiting quarterback at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City? Or down near the Black Hole crowd in the Oakland Coliseum? Or…how about running three-abreast around Turn Number One of a NASCAR race at 190 miles per hour? Davis Love Number Three might wet his pants under that kind of pressure.

Message to golfers: Just walk up and hit the damned ball, will ya? Spare the gallery your dirty looks. They are the reason you get to win $1 million during a four-day vacation in Hawaii while the rest of us are at home wearing long-johns watching you on television as the announcers whisper the play-by-play. “Davis Love approaches his ball (tweet, tweet go the birdies)…his feet are perfectly attached to his ankles (buzz, buzz go the bees)…see the way he grips his club …fingers laced…shoes polished…” You just want to scream, “HIT IT ALREADY!!!!!”

Granted they’re good. I’d be, too, if I didn’t have to work when the sun was out. At least I’d good enough to make it to the clubhouse with a couple of golf balls left in my bag, which is how I distinguish a good round from a poor one. One day I was down to the range balls I stole from a public course in Nevada. The ones with the red stripes. “Hey, Ackerman!” my co-players complained. “Are you playing the range ball again?”

As far as the fan not deserving to watch Love play…yes he did. He probably paid to get in and it’s not as if he ran up and kissed Love Number Three on the mouth, or anything like that. He was simply reminding him that he’s not good enough to beat Tiger. Something that Love Number Three should have acknowledged himself after the match.

“Yeah…some guy yelled at me and that was rude,” Love Number Three should have said. “But not as rude as getting worked by Tiger harder than an Indonesian in a Nike factory.”

Tiger has had his moments, but at least he gets the difference. I saw him on the sidelines of a recent Stanford basketball game that ended with a buzzer-beating shot. He stormed the court with the rest of the student body and was preparing to jump on the dog pile at mid-court before remembering he was Tiger. Imagine the entire gallery rushing the green following a 30-footer on the 18th at Augusta and dog-piling Davis Love Number Three.

Pressure? There’s no pressure in golf. Not until they start bringing the gallery close enough to smell the players’ breath. Not until we can see six, bare-breasted, beer-bellied fans with black letters painted on their chest spelling a collective, “NÐO-L-O-V-E” while screaming, “MISS IT!” at the top of their lungs.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The Union.


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