The Old Men & The Tee

Unreal hits the links at the U.S. Senior Open

"I'm going to head out," he says and soon does so.

We assume his meager check is in the mail.

We infiltrate the Post-Dispatch hospitality tent to assuage ourselves with a few pilfered snacks. We momentarily consider getting really drunk on the P-D's top-shelf liquor, but it's too hot for that. Besides, we're too down in the dumps about George Green's early exit. Tonight, we mourn.

One of the Senior Open's more spry spectators 
motors around Bellerive.
Jennifer Silverberg
One of the Senior Open's more spry spectators motors around Bellerive.
Is that Gary, or is it Gilbert? Neither: It's George "27 
Over Par" Green.
Jennifer Silverberg
Is that Gary, or is it Gilbert? Neither: It's George "27 Over Par" Green.

Unreal has somehow managed to find our way into Bryan Burwell's column in the Sunday Post-Dispatch!

"It was just about this time that someone with an odd sense of humor wondered if in this age of BALCO, if there was any magic juice Jake might like to suck down that might put a little pep in his step or an additional glide in his stride for that final demanding two-round march," Burwell writes.

It's rewarding to provide fodder to a fellow member of the fourth estate. And how cool that he's so tight with "Jake." It's only a little disappointing that the Burmeister fails to credit Unreal by name.

But things are looking bright today, and not we're not just talking about the sun, which feels like it's floating about two feet away. Two friends have tagged along with Unreal, and they've got access to the hospitality tent of a company-that-shall-remain-nameless. Translation: free booze.

We start off with a nod to the home team, snagging a few Michelob Ultras -- the only non-non-alcoholic beer available in this tent. We quickly come to our senses and switch to Tanqueray-and-tonics.

It isn't long before we find ourselves becoming increasingly distracted by things that have nothing to do with golf.

"Hello," we say to a group of five blondes from St. Charles who look like they would marry for the money. "Are any of you wearing Lily Pulitzer, by any chance?"

"No," says one. "We can't afford it. Somebody thought she had Gucci sunglasses, though."

"How about the men?" we continue. "Are they living up to their end of the fashion bargain?"

"They're hot," says one woman. "Except for that guy right there. That is really an ugly shirt."

We're pretty hot ourselves, so we head toward the country-club pool. Tournament organizers have clearly indicated that it's off-limits, but we consider diving in anyway. But instead we waylay competitor Mike Reid, who has just completed his 36-hole broil-a-thon, finishing the tournament at one over par.

Unreal: Mike, do you feel like golf is a pretty cool sport that appeals to the younger generation, or do you feel like you could do more?

Reid: Well, it's not a matter of what anyone can do. Golf either appeals to you or it doesn't, and it's not the kind of sport that lends itself to a lot of the flash and marketing that appeals to today's young world. It's a game that requires patience, and you've got to be willing to do repetitive things again and again and not get too terribly bored to be good at. Some people have a mindset for that at a young age, and some people don't.

Unreal: So, you don't think dancing elephants or scantily clad women in the middle of the fairway would be good?

Reid: No, that wouldn't be very appropriate.

Caught up in the moment (and the Tanqueray), Unreal has forgotten to check the leader board. We have no idea that Peter Jacobsen is about to snag victory and a $470,000 share of the purse from a fast-fading Tom Kite, who double-bogeys the final hole. Our best pal Hale Irwin ends up finishing second at eleven under par, one stroke shy of Jacobsen.

Oblivious, we decide to give the last word to whoever strolls in off the course next.

Unreal: Since you're a professional athlete, you probably have lots of groupies, right? Are you going to see them in the clubhouse now?

Golfer Who Turns Out to Be Jim Ahern, Who Finished at Eight Over Par: I don't have a gang of groupies. I have a wife and three kids, who I'm going to see.

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