A Tiger, Panthers, Old Friends & A New Enemy

January16/ 2000

 Four days in Queen Charlotte’s shining city on the state line … BobLee rubs elbows with a Tiger, a Mogul, a Tar Heel Enigma, a Panther leader, some Dookies, and an old friend long ago given up for dead.  No one is more amazed at where Mr Swagger’s wild rides take him than BobLee hisownself … and 40+ NFLers are waiting on Friday.

   As noted on Tuesday … I was at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte’s “high rent” district earlier this week.  I was slightly incorrect relative to my being with El Tigre … I said 6:30 w/ Tiger and UNC Fat Cat Johnny Harris … it was me and Tiger at 7:15 on #1 … Johnny went off later on #10 with Rich Beem.  It was the Pro-Am for the 2nd Annual Wachovia Championship in Charlotte.

   Quail Hollow is Johnny Harris’ club and it’s a beaut.  My first time on-site.  I’ve been to TPC @ Piper Glen numerous times, likewise Peninsula Club and most of the other notable courses around The Great State of Mecklenburg.

   Johnny, along with Wachovia King Pin Ken Thompson, has gone all out to make this weekly tour stop “something special”.  A $1,000,000 winner’s check helps draw Tiger, Vijay, Phil, Davis, etc.  Only Big Easy Ernie is missing from the “top names”.  The course itself is a “classic” design with full growth tree-lined fairways … and in beautiful condition.  

   The organizers are determined to make this “special”.  There are probably 50% more volunteers than needed … I envisioned Wachovia branches within 50 miles all having “gone golfing” signs in their windows. Di-Tech.com should be cleaning up this week.

   A little background here … Swagger has been involved with the PGA Tour, LPGA, and Champions Tour for going on 10 years now.  Enabling me to “see it all” multiple times.  While each week is a “big deal” to the locals; it is usually “it’s Tuesday, it must be Westchester” for those of us a part of the traveling circus of Tour golf.  When I say that The Wachovia at Quail Hollow has a different “feel” about it, my observations are a heckuva lot more meaningful than the local “infobabe” from the local CBS affiliate asking Tiger how it feels to be in “Panther Country” !!!

   I’ve seen Tiger off/on since he joined the Tour in the mid 90s.  He came in with, and has maintained, a very acute sense of “who he is”.  The sports icon of “Tiger Woods” exceeds the young man in the body.  “Michael” is the only other athlete of the recent generation that is in the same class.  Arnold Palmer certainly qualifies from prior times. Tiger has always worn his uber-celebrity very well … as he did on Wednesday.

   For those not acquainted with Johnny Harris … he is 2nd generation Charlotte mega-mogul mover and shaker.  His family has been the primary real estate developers of much of South Charlotte.  He is an active Tar Heel booster of both athletics and the non-athletic elements of “The University”. Seemed like quite a fine fellow … never had to worry about post dating a check or getting a deposit in by 2:00; but, “silverspoons” can be decent folks too … such seems the case with Johnny Harris.

   That Tar Heel “enigma” … lost “that jump ball” to Kevin Joyce in the early 70s … Lee Dedmon.  Lee is a public school administrator in Gastonia.  Still 6’11+ (remember, The Legend never had a 7’0” !!!) and still looks like Lee Dedmon.  I was bantering with a couple of tournament bigwigs when Lee’s group teed off.  I asked both men together … why do you remember him?  Both recalled the infamous ACC Tourney Incident immediately one even reenacting his temper tantrum when it happened.  Lee seems to have come to terms with his place in UNC sports history, however I was relieved that no gallery squirrels yelled “jump Lee jump”.


Today’s Swagger Stumper

Who “squealed like a pig”?


   Panther coach John Fox was in the Pro-Am field.  I met Coach Fox last year and liked him immediately … he got even more likable last January.  A FIRST CLASS GUY!  Yes, I’ve been around other NFL coaches and Fox seems less “tightly wired” than the norm.  I’m sure Jerry Richardson feels likewise … here’s hoping he is around for many years.

   Racing mogul Felix Sabates played both Monday and Wednesday.  Yet another “good guy”.  I know it sounds like a “broken record” but I happen to run into a lot of fine fellows … none of whom seem to know much about Internet message boards.

   Speaking of “good guys” … none better than former Panther Wesley Walls.  I’ve known Wesley for 6-7 years … we kidded about his leaving being the stimulus to get the Panthers to The BIG Dance.  I forgot to ask him; but Wesley will probably be at Ricky Proehl’s Celebrity thingie at Grandover on Friday.  Walls and Proehl … two gentlemen who represent THE BEST the NFL has going for itself.

   While in Charlotte I met with some BobLee Buddies at a REAL “sports bar” – The Press Box – on Montford.  No fru fru contrived atmosphere.  I could imagine Michael Corleone hiding a 9mm behind the toilet tank in this dimly lit “manly bistro”. One of the Buddies mentioned that yours truly had been the target of message board daggers several days ago … some fellow went off the deep end blasting me for something or the other.  Don’t know my latest “fan” at all … “a lawyer in Charleston” is all I know.  A Harvard grad apparently.  I loved it … the power of the website – Yee Haa!  Considering the threats I used to get on Goheels.com I am sure I can live with being a burr under this guy’s saddle. 

   I made a new enemy and I found a very old friend.  I’ll take that trade any day.  An old running buddy and semi-pro baseball teammate emerged from 35 years of shadows.  A former Green Beret in Nam … he recently retired as career FBI … and is pursuing a new vocation around his love of Civil War history.  A 30 minute phone call left me hungry for a much longer reunion as soon as possible.  

While in Charlotte I got a haircut.  The girl cutting my hair claimed she is a close friend of “Tammy Sue”, Tammy Faye Bakker Meissner’s daughter.  Am I the ONLY person who encounters these folks?  


   James Brolin & Connie Selleca managed “The St Gregory” which was modeled after The Fairmont San Francisco.  

   If anyone is having problems receiving the new website, let us know.  Our IT folks are All Pros and can overcome most any firewall.  Contact us and we’ll clear it right up.  Conversely, any more Butt Finches like the guy from Charleston ??? … we’ll gladly zap you and let you go be pissed off at someone else somewhere else … life is too short to be so constipated, even for Butt Finches.

Don’t Forget – Next Wednesday – May 12  

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