Tom, the witness to this unusual scene, recalled the story for this writer. The venue was a two-person scramble at a well-maintained public golf course in the Midwest. Tom and his partner were paired with a Mutt and Jeff team of pretty good players. Ed, the cart driver and self-appointed team captain, was a small man except for his unusually large, strong hands and forearms. “I grew up on a dairy farm, these are from pulling cow teats twice a day for almost twenty years.” He said as he made a fist and flexed his Popeye forearms.
“Tiny, ‘that’s what everybody calls me,’ ” Ed’s partner said , with a friendly grin that exposed a wide gap between his front teeth.
“Tiny was a huge man, even before he got fat,” Tom said. “I would guess him at 6’5” and weighing at least 400 pounds. Tiny took a page from Ricky Fowler’s book of fashion. Except Tiny was three times the size of Ricky. Tiny was adorned in orange! Orange shirt. Orange and white plaid shorts with matching orange belt. He even wore white Adidas golf shoes (Puma must make size 17 golf shoes) with orange stripes. His white wrap-around sunglasses with orange tinted lenses looked out of place on his huge bald head that was covered with beads of sweat, before we took a swing.
The round was going well with each team making more birdies than pars; both teams felt they were still in the hunt for a big chunk of the prize money. As our foursome, of now friends, approached the reachable dogleg left par-5, thirteenth, team captain Ed, said to Tiny, “I will hit a safe one in the fairway to the right of that irrigation pond. Then you can cut the corner over the pond and give us a chance for an eagle.”
Ed did did his part!
Now Tiny, with a chance to show his brute strength, stood on the tee and took several huge practice swings. Waggle, waggle, then Tiny took a mighty swing and hit a towed-hook that started to the right of the irrigation pond but hooked back and caught the top lip of the half empty irrigation lagoon and rolled to a stop still visible just into the water. “Damn!” Ed said, “We will have to play my ball with no chance to get that eagle.”
“That was a new Callaway ball, I think I can get it and save myself 4 bucks. Let’s go hit your ball and then I will slip down that bank and retrieve my new ball,” said Tiny.
Slip down the bank he did! As Tiny approached the bank of the irrigation pond he noticed a lack of vegetation on the steep bank of the pond. Tom said, “I had told him to be careful on that bank as the water levels in irrigation ponds change greatly with water usage and can become really slippery. As Tiny eased down the bank he realized that he might actually get his beautiful shoes muddy but figured that a new ball was worth a little mud.”
“The clay lined pond proved to be a problem! As Tiny stepped onto the 30˚ angle bank, he began to slide… both feet, you know like a skier. He turned to his left, feet forming an angle to the bank, and then both feet went out from under him. The slow motion landing left Tiny secured to the muddy bank by his left elbow. He slowly retrieved the ball with his right hand as he rolled onto his stomach. He put his ball, the object of this chaos, into his pocket and attempted to crawl out. With each step up, he slid further back into the water. Tiny even did an impression of a dragster spinning its wheels. Slow or fast, each motion produced a further back slide.”
Ed said, “Let me help you partner,” as he took out his ball retriever. He extended it to full length and with his strong hands reached it down to Tiny. Tiny grabbed the retriever and Ed pulled. The extended retriever ruptured at one of the joints and Tiny slid further into the pond. Tiny held one of the ball retriever. Ed held the other.
Tom saved the day by finding a maintenance worker who used a roll of irrigation hose and a maintenance cart to drag tiny to safety. The red faced Tiny was exhausted. The parts of his orange Ricky Fowler clothing that were not covered with mud were soaked with sweat. As Tiny stood bent over with his hands on his knees, he said panting between words, “boys I am done for today. They need a damn DANGER SIGN on that pond.”
Tom smiled as he finished the story, “we did not win anything but the mental picture of that hippo, Tiny, floundering in that mud was better than winning the tournament.”