NBC’s Dan Hicks and Johnny Miller welcomed Arnold Palmer into the booth at Bay
Hill a few moments ago, Hicks joked that it was good to feel Arnie’s handshake
totally agree – you never forget Arnold Palmer’s handshake.
not that Arnie is one of those bone-crusher guys, not at all.His is just a firm, friendly,
manly handshake.Two quick pumps
and he releases.
makes it so unforgettable is Arnie’s hand itself: it’s big and strong and as padded
as a major league catcher’s mitt. The
fingers he wraps around your hand are as thick and beefy as sausages.You feel like you’ve fallen into the
embrace of a mama bear or something.
I don’t care who you are, or what you can or cannot do for him, Arnie looks you
in the eye, smiles and says it’s good to see you.It’s one of the reasons Arnold Palmer is
one of the great ambassadors the game has ever had.
Again, I come to you with a non-golf blog
topic, but hey, when former porn star Traci Lords pops up in the news, as she
did a couple of days ago, I started thinking about our time together.
Like my recent blog post about interviewing Dear Abby, my encounter with the
then-luscious Lords dates back my
pre-golf writer life, when I profiled stars and celebrities of all stripes for The
Philadelphia Inquirer.That’s what I was doing in 1989, when I was dispatched to Baltimore,
where Lords was making her first
legit post-porn career movie.It
was a 1950s period comedy called Cry-Baby, and it
was directed by the film auteur John
Waters, who was giving Lords her first big break.
What thrust Lords into the news this week was the rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, in
which two high star school football players were convicted of raping a
16-year-old girl.A revolting rape
case became even more revolting and notorious when high school kids posted
photos of the victimized girl in the internet.
Lords, now in her 40s and long
gone from porn, says her life was changed forever when she, too, was raped in
her native Steubenville, when she was a 10-year-old named Norma Kuzma.
If you’ll recall, Lords rocked the porn industry in the mid-80s, when she announced
that every porn film she had ever appeared in – and there were a bunch of
them – were actually made when she was 15, 16 and 17 years old --
underage.Her entire body of work,
so to speak, was quickly yanked from the shelves, except for one film, Traci, I love You,which was shot two
days after she turned 18.
Naturally, for the sake of investigative
journalism and thorough preparation for the interview, I made it my business to
come up with a copy of Traci, I Love You...Yowza!
When I interviewed her, Lords had turned 21 only three weeks earlier and she was still very
hot, hot, hot.It was early afternoon when I
arrived at her hotel in Baltimore, along with the movie’s publicist, but Lords was only then waking up.That’s because they’d were in the midst
of shooting night scenes at a park in Baltimore, and the actors and crew were
working from sundown to sunup. Her
hotel suite was dark, quiet, almost eerie.
"Hello," says a cheerful Lords, as the door opens.
She is a vision. Tiny, 5 feet tops. Long, straight blond
hair that falls onto her shoulders. A cute, almost childish face. And even
though the blinds are drawn, who could help but notice that nature has been
generous to this young woman in many places and ways.
Packed, as she is, into a tight spandex top and long flowing
skirt, it is also abundantly clear why she was the rage of the porn industry as
a mere teen. But it's also obvious that she's very young. What smut king
couldn't have seen that this girl was underage?
"Well," says the publicist, excusing himself,
"I'll leave you two alone."
Lords stands in the center of the hotel room and smiles,
If you’re headed to Phillies spring training
camp and wondering about where to play golf in the Clearwater area, here are suggestions
from a golf writer friend of mine in nearby Safety Harbor:
As for recommendations, a very good
semi-private pubic fee course is in a small town about 15 miles north of
Clearwater. The course is Fox Hollow and located in New Port Richey. If your
friend does not mind driving a little distance, i
would recommend it.
A little bit closer is the
Belleview Biltmore, right in Clearwater. Nothing great, but OK... If money is
not a real object, there's always Innisbrook Resort,
where the PGA Tour event will be next week... They've got about 5 courses
there, so some are better and more expensive than others.
is another daily fee course, about 6-7 miles just north of the Phillies
complex. it's a good course for the fee. Actually, as I think about it, i'd say Fox Hollow and Landsbrook
are probably the best for the price in the immediate area of Clearwater.
I shot, edited and uploaded
10 vignettes featuring Jeff Silverman,
who has spent much of the past two years researching and writing a new history
of the championships hosted by Merion over
the past century.
The videos, Part 1 through
Part 10, cover everything from the founding of Merion, to what makes the East Course special, to the story and
history behind the club’s famous red wicker baskets.
Here’s my personal favorite,
the video on the wicker baskets.
I’ve got an another update on Jim Finegan,
this time from the horse’s mouth:They’ve got him up and walking and he’s even dreaming about eventually making
his return to golf.
"Only a madman would look to the future of his
game when he didn’t have one going in," said Finegan, 83, laughing at
himself. "But what do I find myself doing every day?Wondering about how my game is going to
Finegan, the golf historian and
author, fractured his femur in a fall on the stairs of his Villanova home on
Jan. 30.He spoke yesterday by phone from his bed
in Devon Manor, a rehab center,
where he has been since a few days after the fall and subsequent surgery.He said he has no idea how long he will
be in rehab.
Sounding clear-headed and upbeat, Finegan did
change the medical report, at least from the early reports from his wife, Harriett.He said he did not break his hip.His only broken bone is a fractured
femur, in his upper leg.
"I am certainly feeling better," said Finegan."I am able to do things on Tuesday that
I couldn’t do on Monday.There is
His walk, he said, is an unsteady gait that
will earn him no style points.Still, Finegan
finds himself daydreaming about playing golf in the spring.
"I should be wondering if I will walk again,"
he said."But no, I am looking to
the point that maybe there is a short par 3 in my future.I should give it up but my mind keeps
dragging me back to how I would play."
The title of the book pretty
much says it all.Nothing enhances an
experience like knowing the history behind it, and this book is primer on one
of the most important events in modern golf history, the ’50 Open at Merion.
I read it when it first came
out a couple of years ago, but I was in a hurry, trying to prepare for a Q&A with the author, David Barrett.Now, as
I prepare for to the Open, I’m
re-reading Miracle at Merion much
more slowly, plumbing it for details.
If you want an appreciation
of golf history made in Philadelphia, this is not a bad place to start.