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March 26, 2006

Par For The Course

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

While watching television, the closest thing I ever come to a reality show is a glimpse of someone eating something disgusting while channel surfing. I also was curious about the exotic lands traveled but saw they were polluted by obscene American television. My aversion to the hideous broadcasts was so complete that I was stunned and surprised when I accidentally stumbled into the middle of one.

The scene was a golf course across the bay from Ocean City. I was to meet an internationally renowned biologist for a tour to report on the ecological benefits of this particular 18-hole sport facility for a newspaper.

I don't play golf; but I knew something was up when I noticed a small crowd of golfers with numbers pinned to their backs, large cameras and a group of California types mingling around on the practice thingy.

A golfer would step up, hit the ball and it would sail off. This was repeated until the group was finished. Then they moved to a close-by practice green where they had to perform a chip shot up hill and the ball then rolled down toward the pin. This entire golf lingo I learned in my few hours stay. The third task was to get the ball out of the sand trap - also nearby.

However, during all of this, one of those Los Angeles types would meander over and lead a contestant to the garage under the clubhouse. It was a normal looking two-car affair and it was here the interviews took place.

The crowds in the gallery, consisting of me, the wife of a golfer reality person-to-be and the biologist, all discussed the latest rumors. Apparently, one of the types they were looking for the show was a "risk taker," and the question that filtered back was if you would hit another golfer with a ball. They were also watching shots of the hoofers in action in their secret hideaway.

Another rumor, reported in the local newspapers, informed all that they were also seeking golfers with personalities. I can understand this problem, as I never knew a golfer who had a personality and this was confirmed by the thousands of golfers rejected by the director.

They finally found 50 or so that will be in a pool that will be further whittled down to 30 for the $250,000 prize. Most are expected to whither under the pressure of being on CBS.

The event, I found out later, is called the St. Joseph Pressure Challenge sponsored by Golf Magazine, not Golf Digest as I was very rudely informed.

Pretty lasses were sitting behind a table passing out copies of the glossy; and I became a devil's brother at the mention of the competing publication. The thing will be filmed on April 18-20 where the finalists (I guess the ones with a super golfing personality) all must have a par handicap of eight or better. (I am not sure if that is the right way to say it.) They then must meet par on each of the nine holes or they are eliminated. The last one that finishes nine holes at par wins the 250 grand.

I have often thought of watching golf as exciting as observing grass grow and having a conversation with a golfer as stimulating as a banker discussing hedge funds. But, I will now have to watch this show to be aired on May 14 and 20th and see who gets hit with the ball and if there really is a golfer with personality.

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