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Dec 14

“Fore” Means “Fore”

When Drives Go Bad: “Fore” Means “Fore”

I remember being in awe as a kid, hearing the statistics of baseball’s power pitchers, hurlers like Bob Feller and Herb Score. Pitching speeds went up over 120 mph, and I can’t imagine how a batter could have seen it coming. Somebody did, though, for Score ended up being hit with a line drive in the face, and it took a season to recover his 20/20 vision. Numerous bones in his face were broken.

I’ve had a football drilled into my ribs – yep, that hurts. The way Serena Williams hits it, even a tennis ball could make quite a sting, and then there’s cricket, spiked volleyballs and basketball. Still, with all of these, there’s something even scarier about the game of golf. A swing of 80 mph produces a ball speed of 110, 90 produces 130, and 105 produces 155. Remember that episode of Beverly Hillbillies when Granny boiled those golf eggs for hours, and still couldn’t get them to soften? They may only weigh 1.6 ounces, and they may span less than 1.65 inches, but they’re packed into that little space as few other sporting implements are. In the hands of a strong athlete, the potential for disaster is ever present – especially if the athlete really excels in another sport.


Take Bode Miller, for example. The guy’s a natural, a high-coordination ace, and a five-time Olympic medalist in alpine skiing. Now, Mr. Miller is taking a lot of time off from recent knee surgery, and might not return to the slopes until February. So, what does an athlete do with time off like that? A lot of them hit the links and play a month or so of golf – with a passion.

In addition, Mr. Miller is blessed with a recent marriage to Morgan Beck Miller, a high level volleyball player and model. Word is that they really like each other, and it’s a good thing. Morgan tagged along for an entire 18 hole round, did some scoring and club errands along the way. No marital spat occurred, but she took one for the team – a really bad one.

Like Herb Score all those years ago, Morgan received a 150 mph line drive off the tee from her husband, directly into the eye. The aftermath required fifty stitches, but it is thought that had she not been wearing a pair of sunglasses, they might have been shopping for a glass eye. None of it’s good – stitches, glass eyes, especially for a model.

As a testament to Ms. Beck Miller’s character and marital resolve, her following tweets were generous, all things considered. “I’m not feeling so hot,” she said. That sounds like someone who didn’t really want to complain. “Line drive to the face today with a golf ball from my darling husband. I still love.” Now that’s forgiveness, and a reminder that “Fore!” is not just some picturesque word out of old Scotland.

Edwin Watts Golf

No doubt, Mr. Miller feels perfectly awful about the whole thing, and that she knows that. Still, I can only wonder where it was that she was standing to take such a blow. He understood, didn’t he, that she wasn’t a deer on the course, or some such course animal?

It’s a good lesson for all of us to keep our eyes open and our feet in the right area of the course when those little white comets leave the teebox. For Morgan, who likes a guest star at fright night, we’re confident that she will return to her beautiful former self, and that Bode will be even a little more attentive this holiday season. I can’t imagine what she’s going to do to him if they ever play volleyball.

 

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.