…More readers wrote in wondering “where’s BobLee?” than usually answer an Everley Brothers trivia question. Yes, this is the first new column in 8 days and Swagger Withdrawal was creating havoc across America. This hiatus was not intended but simply happened. BobLee hasn’t “waggled” in 9 years … but has been on a rather remarkable golf course odyssey that included none other than Ye Olde Legend, a Wolfpack NFLer, Lydia The Cajun Cutie, and a Rocky Mount boy that’s “done good” in the banking bizness? …..
I did indeed give up golf “cold turkey” nine years ago and haven’t “waggled” even once since. The remarkableness of that “no waggle” statement is that it includes three trips to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. Not “waggling” at that monster golf trade show is like touring the Anheuser Busch brewery and not licking your lips …
*** NOTE ***
For those of you on Time Warner Cable in Triangle and Charlotte … BobLee will be on News14’s Sports Update tonight (Tuesday) at 10:00 PM. As always, he will offer a visionary perspective on sports matters of obscure significance and otherwise …
Tuesday Night 10 PM – News14 in Triangle and Charlotte!
So where was I? Oh yes, this golf thing. So I don’t even play golf any more yet get invited to all these mega-cool golf events and venues. What’s the deal? What can I say … it’s just hard to picture these events without Mr Swagger on-site. Remember Rock ‘n Rollen that character with the rainbow afro that showed up at major sports events in the 80s? Well I’m not him, but I met him once.
This latest odyssey actually began about 3 weeks ago when I was invited to John Lupton’s Honors Course outside Chattanooga. Is Lupton a BIG wig with Coca Cola? He is sooo big with Coke that he carries “the secret formula” on a laminated card in his wallet. He was a member of Augusta but got upset with his fellow “poobahs” and built his own ultra-exclusive course in his hometown near “Rock City”. How exclusive is it … even if you have directions, it’s harder to find than a moonshine still in The Smokies. Mr. Lupton is both a very generous philanthropist and a man of refined taste. The Honors Course is understated but very “nice”… just as I would do it if I owned the Coca Cola bottling rights to half the United States.
From Chattanooga to New Orleans. My previous Nawlins’ experience was the ubiquitous post adolescent visit 30 years ago to accumulate lies about “what we did on Bourbon Street”. This time I was visiting Metarie Country Club and the TPC of Louisiana. As noted in an earlier column, the only negative was Huey Long’s Bridge … very old, very narrow, very high, and very long … four negatives for any bridge in my opinion. I did three round trips across “The Huey” which was 3 more than I hope to ever make again.
Metarie CC is one of those “old money” clubs that has a special exclusive WASPish charm to it. All the past club presidents’ portraits are displayed along the hallways. As Emmett Smith once remarked to me as we stood at the Start/Finish Line at Bristol … “BobLee, there ain’t too many bruthas here, are there?” The only “brutha” I saw at Metarie CC was a most polite gentleman shining shoes in the Men’s Locker Room. The neighborhood around Metarie CC was New Orleans gentry for sure. Their ancestors are buried in those above ground sarcophagi so common in “the sunken city”.
The TPC of Louisiana was to be honest “just another TPC” cookie-cutter club for folks who will NEVER get into Metarie CC. TPCs are “nice” and the staffs are polite to a fault. The TPC guest treatment standards are consistent everywhere I’ve ever been and I think this was #12 on my TPC checklist.
The highlight of my New Orleans visit was a night on the town with Lydia and her sweetie Tom. Lydia, our LSU Tiger football prognosticator, has near ‘bout whipped a nasty health thing and never lost one iota of her perkiness, pluckiness and positive effervescence and charm. We sucked crawfish heads at Frankie & Johnny’s and solved a host of the world’s problems.
Leaving Nawlins Monday night I headed to Governors Club on Tuesday to help out Prince Albert The Long. Prince Albert was raising money for Agape Corner in Durham. Agape Corner takes kids out of REALLY bad home situations and gives them a chance in life. Albert called in his “Dream Team” of Ye Olde Legend in The Basement, PGAer Bobby Clampett, and moi. Yep, BobLee and Deano teamed up to help Albert’s kids. I flew in from Nawlins … Dean flew in from Augusta … and Bobby drove over from Cary. Good guys and a good time for a good cause.
Bidding adieu to Albert, Dean and Bobby, I headed for Williamsburg and the LPGAers at Kingsmill. I had not been around the LPGA for a while. I swear there are more Koreans at an LPGA event in 2005 than there were at The Chosin Reservoir in 19 and 50. There is nothing wrong with female Korean golfers except they can’t speak English and non-Koreans don’t have much interest in paying to see them. And you wonder why Ty Votaw is quitting as LPGA Commish after this season. Yes, Natalie Gulbis is cute and wears the micro minis to fit her Paris Hilton lookalike persona. At least her scary redneck daddy doesn’t hover around like he did for several years.
I bet you think this is about over … not quite.
On Friday I was at Grandover in Greensboro helping Ricky Proehl raise money for charity. I’ve been with Ricky for ten years now with his charity event. Look up “first class fellows from Wake Forest” in the dictionary and Ricky Proehl, Jay Haas, and Arnold Palmer’s pictures are there. Ricky brings in a bunch of his NFL buddies (and one legendary Internet curmudgeon!) for golf.
GREAT STORY … Terence Holt (Torey’s brother and former Wuffie DB now with Detroit Lions) was playing … and wearing the prettiest CAROLINA BLUE sweater. I told him I was taking a picture and posting it on the Internet … sure to create total meltdown among the Lupine Lunatic Fringe. A Holt brother wearing enemy colors. We swapped stories about paranoid Wuffie fans on the far side of “nuts”. He says he knows more Lupine bizarros than I do … I believe him. Great Kid by the way. Also ran into old pal Wesley Walls aka “the nicest guy to ever play for the Panthers” who is now retired and living back in Charlotte.
As if Ricky and his NFL pals were not enough … this Grandover assemblage also included a true Tar Heel sports legend … “Lump The Mike Man”. Greg “Lump” Lunsford is now in his 2nd career as Alamance County insurance mogul but his tombstone will say “Mike Man” not “insurance guy”. He’s the only “mike man” I can say I’ve ever met in person but if all are as nice as “Lump” I’d like to meet more of them. I think one is in a mental institution for running nekkid across the NC State campus chasing coeds. That definitely wasn’t “Lump”.
One more stop on BobLee’s Incredible Journey … Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte yesterday (Monday). Twelve hours after Vijay’s pocketed $1,000,000 I was standing at #1 tee with Ken Thompson. Ken was born and raised in Rocky Mount and educated courtesy of “Uncle Mott” at Chapel Hill. He’s achieved some degree of success in the banking bizness as Grand Poobah of Wachovia.
The 3rd Wachovia Championship was yet another feather in Charlotte’s cap of VERY well-done major sports events. Quail Hollow is as beautiful a golf venue as any place not named Augusta and it ain’t that far from being in Augusta’s category. #17 at Quail Hollow might eventually be more historical than #17 at TPC Sawgrass. Stand on the back tee at #17 and imagine hitting a long iron to that green with $1,000,000 riding on your ability to do so. Just ask Sergio.
As fellow Tar Heels, Ken and I joked that the past 30 days had been pretty cool … Ol’ Roy stomped his monkey and Ken and his staff had their 3rd “great event” at Quail Hollow. I’m pretty sure Ken Thompson is Joe Gibbs’ twin brother.
So I am standing outside the Pro Shop at Quail Hollow and experienced a Swagger Convergent Moment. I was chatting with Ed McLamb. Who is Ed McLamb you ask? Philip McLamb’s Daddy and unanimously voted “the nicest guy in Mecklenburg County” so often they don’t even have that election any more. I’ve only known Ed since kindergarten but I’m pretty sure he has never met anyone who doesn’t like him a lot.
Up walks Rich Habeggar. Rich ran The Vantage Championship for many years and was Reynolds’ point man for its Winston Cup NASCAR program. But at that moment, it was something else. As Trivia King of Planet Earth, I realized immediately what we had here. Both Ed and Rich had played on basketball teams with Edgecombe County School Superintendent Jay Randall. Ed and Jay played together for the legendary Paul Jones in Kinston … Rich and Jay played together at Wake Forest in the late 60s. Heck with Kevin Bacon … this was “one degree of Jay Randall”.
It must have been my cologne, but I was attracting beaucoups of good guys at Quail Hollow. Former UNC QB and 30 year Swagger acquainti Gayle Bomar was on hand with UNC BBer Marty Hensley, and aforementioned Wesley Walls who was obviously following me. Wesley and I have a standing joke that we run into each other about twice a week on the charity golf circuit each Spring.
I hope all the above hoopla excuses me for missing a couple of columns recently. Reading all this one might say “wow that BobLee gets to visit some nice places!” and indeed I do; but the best part is all the nice folks I meet at those nice places … and I get to come home to Mizzus and Kid. That’s the best part of all.
What 50s-60s TV show cast included Phineas T. Bluster?
Al Bundy was a shoe salesman but not a very good one.
Don’t miss BLS on News14 Tuesday night at 10PM. Even if you miss it, call the station and tell them how wonderful BobLee was and you want to see more of him.