I have a notebook that I’ve kept over the years that lists “Only in Vegas” stories.
Readers of this esteemed publication well know that Las Vegas is distinctly different. Not only from every city on this planet, but from all the others in the universe populated by green people with big eyes. In fact when those little folk crashed somewhere near Area 51 years ago, and later had their bodies stored in one of the super-secret facilities out there, they were heard mumbling before expiring that it was the shock of seeing all that blinding neon that caused them to crash their saucer.
Today, I’ll share a couple of “good walk spoiled” stories from Las Vegas golf stories, partly because I’ve probably spent a cumulative total of three-four years strolling our fairways, and let’s just bluntly say I’ve seen some stuff.
Around 20 years ago I saw a several-time Oscar-nominated actor, a household name for 50 years, taken off the Las Vegas Country Club in handcuffs as he was competing in an LPGA pro-am. The celeb, who had been up all night working on a Hollywood film set before boarding a morning flight to Las Vegas to make his tee time, apparently had imbibed a few Bloody Marys before he pushed a tee in the ground on the 10th hole.
Within half an hour he needed to relieve himself, and there wasn’t a Port-A-Potty to be found. Acting oblivious to the couple dozen spectators in his gallery, he simply unzipped and got busy in a water hazard bordering the 11th fairway.
While you would think most people would just ignore the oh-so-casual water, a woman complained, police were called, and Mr. Hollywood was arrested and booked for indecent exposure.
I was playing in the group behind with my distant cousin, Hall-of-Famer Patty Sheehan, and while I was originally concerned at the holdup in play and all the commotion caused by the arrival of the cops, when I was told what had transpired I was struck by the irony of it all.
Here we have a city in which nudity is plastered all over billboards and taxi-cab signs, and this poor bloke exposes the shortest club in his bag and is dragged to the slammer in bracelets.
I read in the next day’s newspaper that the charges were dropped as fast as the actor’s trousers, as they should have been. Rumor has it the actor’s pro-am team photo is still being held for him in the club room at LVCC.
I wrote in an earlier column about a memorable interview I did with Tiger Woods in 1996 after his first PGA Tour victory. Far less memorable was one I did the following year with Bill Glasson, whose eagle-birdie-par finish on the last three holes gave him his first victory in seven years.
The ultimate challenge for an interviewer is getting one-word answers to every question. And that’s exactly what Glasson gave me. It was either “yes,” “no,” or a barely audible grunt. Needless to say, Glasson had me tap-dancing like a semifinalist in a Junior Miss pageant. He didn’t just put egg on my face, more like a Spanish omelette with grits on the side.
As if that weren’t bad enough, I had to interview Bill again some 30 minutes later at our tournament volunteer party. I wasn’t exactly relishing the opportunity. But when we got in front of that merry group, Glasson suddenly turned into Rodney Dangerfield, cracking jokes, providing long and interesting answers, and generally charming the socks off the crowd.
When I asked him later about the Jekyll-Hyde routine, he got instantly apologetic.
“Dude, I feel bad about that,” he said. “The truth is I was so shocked by winning this tournament and realizing how it would change my life for the next few years, that I was in a daze. I didn’t hear a damn word you said out there.
“But don’t feel bad, I can tell you’re really good at what you do.”
I thanked Bill for the apology, told him I understood, and then went looking for a chisel to get the yoke off my face.
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