Sat, Mar 16 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Richard Peña
I would suspect that in persons such as I, whose days are dwindling down to those precious few, have one or two events or persons that are so ingrained within us that they come out as favorite thoughts.
In my particular case the cherishing of such things are a no-brainer: my late wife, Zula and golf. Zula because we shared so many things between us and golf because it was one of them.
This thought came to mind the other day when I did something that I have not done in some time. On Sunday I spent the better part of the afternoon glued to the television watching the last day of a golf tournament.
Oh, it was not just any tournament. It was the Doral Open, a Florida showcase, and it featured Tiger Woods, who led all the way and whose nearest competitors fell by the wayside like so many 10 pins in the alley. It was vintage Tiger, the one we used to watch, faithfully, so many years past— the one that Zula used to root for right up to the finish line.
Zula was not what one would call a sport’s addict. She, nevertheless, liked her favorites and almost went out of her way to further that love. She was a long time member of the now defunct Bonita Valley Tennis Club. On certain days, or nights, of each week one would find her there, playing with some of her regular tennis partners or merely sharpening her skills. Oh, she was not an ace player with a piercing back hand or puzzling ground stroke. She was just one who loved the game and the folks with whom she played.
Paul Hartson, the chief honcho at the tennis club, was very solicitous of club members. Zula was no exception. He went out of his way to aid her and kept us both up to date on scheduled tournaments in and around the area. I recall that because with Hartson we made numerous trips to Palm Springs to see the top players. Zula’s favorites were Boris Becker or Crissy Evert who were generally playing center court and who commanded our attention.
We generally stayed at a small motel in Indian Wells, the place we dubbed the poor man’s Palm Springs. But we thought it was four star.
But we must get back to golf and Tiger. The other day’s viewing of Tiger’s victory was only a reprise of what Zula and I experienced many times during his heyday. She sat in her chair and I sat in mine and I suppose that both of us would, at times, yell at the screen as if it were live. When Tiger would hit an errant tee shot Zula would probably admonish him by saying he should have used the 3-wood. I think I would just keep quiet.
When the pros would get together at Torrey we would attend, at least, one day. I would obtain tickets well in advance and to the links we would go. Zula knew, beforehand, Tiger’s tee time and she would be at the number one tee in plenty of time. We each would be on our own, she following Tiger and me just loitering. We made plans to meet at the coffee shop at a specified time and sure enough there she was excited with enough anecdotes to last a lifetime.
Though Zula liked golf and liked watching Tiger she was not much of a player. Her participation on the course was generally limited to some of the excursions that we made, generally a holiday at some resort with a group.
In contrast up to a couple of years ago I was a life-long player. All sorts of things happened to me but I never had a hole-in-one. Once, at such a resort in Mexico she and I were playing with another couple and we came across a multi-level par-3.
The tee-box was about 100 yards above the green. She took a couple of practice swings and, with little ceremony, hit a high arcing shot, landing on the green and rolling into the hole. I followed but was nowhere near the hole.
She probably thought but didn’t say it, “You should have used your 3-wood.”
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