My friends, there is truly much indeed that grand and glorious game golf may teach us of life. I myself, who have played the great courses on seven continents—from Cape Town to Patagonia to a nine-hole muni on the outskirts of Beijing paired with Mao Tse-Tung, Gary Player and Ho Chi Minh—still find much to learn from its infinite capacity to challenge, to torment, and yes, even to humble us. As we step to the first tee today the lush fairway spreads out enchantingly before us. An inviting canvas of possibility awaiting the man bold enough to stroke his Titleist upon it. Ah, but careful my friends—for amongst this enticing splendor there lie daunting obstacles to be overcome, fiendish hazards of wind and sand and water, capriciously positioned in our path by the wily and fickle Grand Architect. Or in this case, Pete Dye in a truly devilish 7200 yard layout with 114 bunkers and wrist-breaking six inch rough. My playing partner today, Juan Valdez, will hit first. It looks as though he has chosen five-wood. The pansy. “Splendid shot, my friend. Safely played. Perhaps next time you should hit from the ladies’ tees.” Yes, just as we may learn much of life from the game of golf, so too may we learn much about a man by the way he plays it. “Caddie—my driver please.” Grip firmly of your shaft with both hands, my friends. Swing boldly, and swing hard. THWACK! “Mierda! Hijo de puta! Cabron!” Yes, well, it seems we will be venturing into the woods. But the fairway, after all, is for those who seek only the soft, the easy, the, er, fair way through life. The weak, the timid, those lacking the cojones to stray from the middle of the road and venture into the unknown. Although this is truly a bitch of a lie here behind this tree. While Valdez tosses bits of grass into the air I will take the opportunity to kick my ball right about here. Ah, perfect. I do this merely to demonstrate that always in life there are those who would look to cheat, to deceive, to take advantage of the heedless and unsuspecting soul. Stay vigilant, my friends. “Caddie—my six-iron please. I said the six, not the nine, you idioto! Are you blind?! Maldicion! How can I—what’s that? This is the six? Ah, yes, now I see. In the limp-wristed fashion in which you handed me the club the six appeared as a nine. So, umm… what is the yardage?” A precise, deftly stroked ball is called for here. Aim straight at the flag. Grip it tight, head down, left arm straight, and… THWACK! “Fore!! Fore!! I said ‘Fore!’ you stupido!” Yes, well, he seems to have movement in his legs. A good sign. And another life lesson sternly imparted. Always keep your head up, my friends; for in golf, as in life, one never knows when a waywardly struck ball may suddenly descend from the sky and carom off your skull. And then go bounding most unfortunately into a bunker. My God, the size of it. I haven’t seen such an expanse of sand since the time I was stranded in the Sahara. Lost and blinded by a savage sandstorm, I took refuge in the tent of an absent sultan with his eighteen comely concubines. Ah, the sweet memory of it. I played many rounds on that lush and lithesome course, my friends. Many a hole in one did I score. Many strokes did I make with my steel-shafted driver. Many a birdie did I… “What’s that, Valdez? Quit rushing me, you peasant. I’m studying my lie. Caddie—my sand-wedge.” THWACK! “Cabron!” THWACK! “Hijo de puta!” THWACKTHWACKTHWACKTHWACK!!! “Now rake the trap, you snickering baboon.” Ah, safely on the green. Valdez looks to be away. I will mark my ball. On the links, as in life, one should always observe the proper rules of etiquette, of sportsmanship, of gentlemanly conduct. Quiet now as he lines up his putt, draws back the putter and… “Hey, Valdez, your wife smells like a donkey’s culo! Hee hee. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a bit of playful, good-natured gamesmanship between friends. And now my putt for birdie. A mere twelve-footer. Perhaps Valdez will concede it. No? The bastard. “Caddie—my putter.” Slightly downhill, a break to the left, the speed is critical. Steady over the ball, a smooth stroke and… “Get in the hole! Get in the hole! Get in the freaking hole!” An unfortunate result. Even I cannot make them all, my friends. But the important thing to remember, as we scramble round this course we call life,is not the score we achieve but rather the fashion in which we play the game. Judge not a man by his number of strokes in relationship to par, but rather by the size of the bulge in his polyester flat front trousers. And always remember—life is about the eighteen-holed journey, not about our final destination in the clubhouse where we may drink many beers and perhaps bag a bodacious cocktail waitress. Although this is good too. And now, my short tap-in for eagle and we move to number two.