Swearing in golf (or: taking a cue from David Feherty)
I’ve just finished Somewhere in Ireland a Village is Missing an Idiot, by the renowned slav, David Feherty. He puts forth his belief that the well-aimed and well-deserved curse should not be shrunk away from, but rather, embraced. His reflections gave me pause, and I thus swore, errr, promised to write a blog on the nature of swearing in golf. In a nutshell, here it is.
Swearing in golf part one: reflexive.
The most common type of swearing in golf is the self-aimed curse. When angered by one’s shortcoming(s), one curses oneself, one’s ability, or (in Spain) the milk of the mother that bore him. Whereas we Americans swear in syllables, the Spanish swear in phrases, sentences and, every so often, entire paragraphs. Seve, Jose Maria, Miguel Angel, Sergio, they can do it. Incidentally, only Ky Laffoon, the american indian golfer of the 1930s, ever responded to himself with a punch. Most of us curse ourselves freely, never anticipating reprisal.
Swearing in golf part two: omni-directed
The second most common type of swearing in golf is the oath directed at some all-powerful being (God, the putter fairies, mother Nature) perceived to somehow be interested in the slightest in the outcome of our game. The best example of this variety of the affliction, ironically, involved no words. The golfer, after rimming yet another putt, simply leaned back, looked skyward, and flipped off the almighty, the clouds, and a passing seagull (which then dropped a load on the insolent flogger–talk about your paybacks!)
Swearing in golf part three: opponent-directed
Not nearly as common as the first two, as the direct reprisal is a distinct possibility. Takes the most courage (or insanity), no doubt, since the opponent is not doing “it” directly to you, just to the course. You, being a competitor, happen to be an indirect recipient of the damage. Also not common owing to the fact that golf is a genteel sport, where trash-talking (such as “your mom putts my ball") is kept to a minimum, usually between friends.
So there it is. The next time your super-heroic golf type dropps the f-bomb, the mighty g-d, or even the ordinary a-h, assess the damage, award style points, and be done with the matter.
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We need a standard scoring system, though. The score should be inverse to your golf score.
So ideally, when you are having a bad day on the course, you should have a good day on your "swearing" scorecard. That way, at the end of the day, you should have some positives to draw upon, and a feeling of accomplishment.
How should "par" be established for such a game? And maybe Shanks can come up with a wager to compliment...
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