CALGARY - In the year 2012 a special committee consisting of ex-communicated IOC members, disorientated members from the Royal & Ancient Golf Association, and a few golf enthusiasts who had quite obviously suffered major head injuries, formed The Golf X-Games. They won the world over.
The Golf X-Games, staged every four years throughout the world, attracted millions of devoted fans, TV viewers, and large herds of those weird looking people you always see hanging out in front of 7-11's and clothing stores that specialize in garments made from hemp.
There were many reasons why the Golf X-Games experienced early success. For example, every year the grounds more or less became human cesspools full of young men wearing their pants halfway down their buttocks and young giggly women faking that they actually enjoyed looking at "plumber butt." Also, one of the favorite attractions of the games was the side betting. Fans could bet on anything from who would split their pants first to how long it would take for medical attendants to perform the first amputation.
However, what really made the games popular were the "fan-friendly" events that, to put it mildly, shocked the sporting world and sent golf traditionalists reeling with disgust. After all, it's not often that you witness a golfer stumbling around with the shaft of a golf club sticking out of his neck. To the delight of the Golf X-Games followers, this, and other spectacular injuries, were not uncommon at the games.
Some of the Golf X-Games most popular events were:
The Powercart Downhill - Extreme speed, horrific crashes, and massive head wounds were certain bi-products of one of the most popular spectator events at the games. Racers hurtled themselves down the steep gradient in powercarts, dodging rocks, trees, spectators, and cliffs in their bid for survival and the opportunity to stand on the podium as a medallist.
In the 2016 games in Lake Tahoe a Canadian racer chose a shortcut via air - as opposed to staying on land - and it cost him dearly. In an effort to achieve gold, he purposely steered his vessel of death off a 75-foot cliff in hopes to better his time. Thelma and Louise would have been proud. While he did manage to survive the plunge, it took race volunteers a few hours to locate portions of his skeletal structure, which littered the mountainside.
Event organizers are anticipating an extremely competitive race at Kitzbuhl in 2020. "Despite the inevitable carnage, we're pleased with the continued popularity of the downhill," said the vice-president of the games. "Yes, it is a fairly dangerous event. But that is why we ensure that smelling salts, scalpels, and rubbing alcohol are readily available for the contestants," he finished.
The Golf Biathlon - While traditional biathletes skied and intermittently shot high-powered rifles at distant targets from a prone position, golf biathletes "one-upped" the traditionalists with a few unique twists. Naturally, instead of cross-country skiing, they played golf (with a required power cart). Golf biathletes carried a 12-gauge shotgun as their fifteenth club and shot strategically placed targets while they were in motion. The targets consisted of, but were not limited to, tee signs, OB stakes, ducks, and gophers. The Golf Marathon - Excluding the ghastly start to this torturous test of skill and endurance, media coverage from this event grew more and more positive as the directors of the Golf X-Games continued to position The Golf Marathon as a "feature event" at the games. The contestants, up to 50 at a time, teed off simultaneously upon the blast from the starter's gun. From there it was a race to see who could finish 26 rounds of golf in the fastest time. And no, the "honor system" did not take precedence.
"Having fifty golfers tee off on one hole at the same time is wildly entertaining, however, it would be nice to see a slightly lower death toll in this event," cited Larry Banks, a director at the games. "Not only does this event test one's skill and endurance, but one's pain threshold will most certainly be redefined," finished Larry.
The 2012 champion, a former member of Ireland's national rugby team, won the gold medal after holing a six-footer on the 468th hole. He had been on the course for nearly three days and had reportedly consumed eight cases of Guinness in the process. Numerous dimple marks and golf ball size bulges marked areas on his body where he had been pelted by golf balls. In addition, a club shaft dangled from his calf (they later pulled part of a hosel out of his eye) as he trotted up the final hole, grimacing in agony.
The staff at the Golf X-Games has also planned a few introductory events for the 2020 games. Heading the list are "Synchronized Underwater Golf Ball Retrieval" and the "Really Drunk Long Drive."
At last report, ticket sales for the next games, which will be held at Kitzbuhl, were soaring. The Golf X-Games appear to be healthier than ever. Despite the tragic loss of a number of competitors, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of willing participants. And as one newcomer to the games recently described, "Ya, sure, I might have my head in a cast for a while, but it still beats hanging out at 7-11."
August 21, 2002
Andrew Penner is a freelance writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout North America and Europe. You can see more of his work at www.andrewpenner.com.
We all love golf course rankings, but there's quite a bias involved, huh? Host a major championship and you're basically guaranteed a spot on the list. What about the average duffer who's more impressed with the beer list than the slope/rating - or prefers friendliness over the fine, imported lotion in the locker room? Where's our list, hackers? Answer: Right here.
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