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Not as colorful as they used to be Richard Peña | Sat, Feb 01 2014 12:00 PM

I recall the times when my late wife, Zula and I would spend at least two days of the weekend at Torrey Pines gold course.  We would dress for the weather—whatever it might be—and make preparations for following one of our favorites around the North or South Course.  Nowadays the annual golf tournament bears the name of an insurance company.  Over the years it sported other titles, the Buick Invitational is one that readily comes to mind.  Many of us remember it as the Andy Williams Open and regard those times as the salad days of the event.  It rated up there with the Crosby, the Bob Hope in the desert and the L.A. Open.

Zula and I generally went our separate ways.  She liked Tiger Woods and would follow his entourage even if it took her to the Pacific Ocean. Since I was supposed to be working I would follow the leaders until I tired of them and then picked out one of the others. The Star-News would supply me with credentials that gave me access to the writer’s tent where I could rub elbows with those greats who wrote about the game. I recall one instance when fog had settled over the course making play impossible. The golfers, tired of the putting greens, would grant interviews to almost anyone with a semblance of the trade. All it took was a pencil.

I was thinking of this last Sunday as I sat in my living room trying to get interested in the annual tourney at Torrey.  I looked at the leader board and saw names like Stallings, Choi, DeLaet, Day, Perez, Leishman and others just as unfamiliar.  Where were the Caspers and Hogans and Crenshaws and Trevinos and the others that used to make the Sunday so enticing?  It was another age.  But was it another age that could make golf as exciting and attractive as in the days of yore. I think not. Judging by the play on Sunday it looked more like school boys playing give-away. Missing six foot putts seemed to be the norm.  I also saw more shots coming out of sand bunkers than Lawrence saw in Arabia.

If Zula were still around sitting next to me in the living room she would probably agree that one of the problems with the professional golfer of today is his costume.  Oh, they were decently attired; it is true, but with little imagination. There were blue shirts, green ones, red and many whites.  But none that stood out, like Hawaiian hues, or school colors or things of that nature. Someone could, at least, have been wearing a purple shirt.

Ah, purple!  Now we are getting someplace.  I have always had a penchant for the color purple.  It is a royal color; it is true, and prominent in ceremonial rites.  But, with its many hues it can tell a story, sort of assert itself as being above all other shades.  I remember that Zula and I got purple tee-shirts at the same time.  I don’t recall from where they came.  They were each inscribed with some saying.  I seem to have forgotten what mine said.  I do recall hers.  In white letters over the purple background was the succinct phrase,  “My next husband will be normal.”  I suspect that she was the one who purchased the shirts.  I wisely suggested that we save them for when we were doing yard work, that is, back yard work.

Thinking of purple never fails to remind me of the Purple Mother, Katherine Tingley.  Katherine was a purposeful person who founded a utopian colony in Point Loma around the turn of the last century.  She, like me, had a leaning to the color purple having many of the buildings surrounding her in various hues of that color.  Many of her subjects were like Katherine, dressed in purple.

One of the tenets that she embraced was reincarnation.  She, for example, insisted that her dog was really her deceased husband.  Her only proof was that the dog was just as lazy as her late husband.  The literature fails to mention the color of the dog.  Could it be purple?  Or some nondescript color?  Like the Torrey Pines golfer.

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