I'm not exactly sure who the first person was that did something backwards, but I bet his ass drowned as Noah was pumping golf balls off the Ark's poop deck into the great blue sea (and rest assured, there would have been plenty of poop). Golfers all over the world have a tendency to do things backwards as well, starting from which side of the ball they play.
Just so you know, I'm not entirely against people playing the game left-handed. It just depends on their reasons for doing so. Things like trickery, hockey, drunkenness, nose picking, and torture have all contributed to people playing the game left-handed. These, however, are not good enough reasons (or tactics) to get you to play golf from the left side. Some of them, however, are great tactics to use to get your rear end out of the house when your mother-in-law comes over for the weekend.
Of course, only a few people who play the game left-handed actually need to play the game left-handed. How do you know if you need to play the game left-handed, you ask? It all depends on what you would score right-handed. If it's more than 150, you should play from the left side of the ball. Less than 150 and you've got to stay put. That is, stay on the right side. (The only stipulation being that if you score between 130 and 150 you should also pack along three bottles of hard liquor that should be entirely consumed during your round). How do I know this, you ask? I don't. It's just my theory.
In the lefty's defense, there have been a number of world-class players win tournaments from the left side - Bob Charles, Phil Mickelson, and Mike Weir (pictured) being the most prominent. Before Bob Charles the record books are a little sketchy regarding southpaws. It appears as if those who did play the game from the left side before the 1940s couldn't break 100, couldn't find left-handed clubs, or died horrific deaths from small pox, rabies, or impetigo.
Something else that's interesting about left-handed golfers is their size. Of the entire lot, Mickelson seems to be the only one who ate his Wheaties while growing up. The others - Weir, Cochrane, Charles, and Flesch - collectively weigh the equivalent of Monty's neck. This is not to say that Monty is overly monstrous because anyone, in my opinion, who threatens (or should that be 'is threatened?') for a US Open must be a finely tuned athlete. Rather, it signifies the weird trend of left-handed golfers opting for the transparent, or 'Flat Stanley' look. Kudos to them just means there'll be more Choco Puffs for Monty and me.
Interestingly, Canada has more left-handed golfers than any country in the world. More than 30% of Canadians play golf standing on the oppressive side of the ball. The theory behind this is that Canadian babies, instead of growing up with diapers, teething rings, and rattles grow up with jock straps for Pampers, pucks for teething rings, and sawed-off hockey sticks as substitutes for rattles. Due to a high percentage of these toothless wonders growing into big, strapping left-wingers with, you guessed it, booming left-hand shots, there is a correspondingly high number of left-handed golfers who wind up terrorising the links.
Interestingly, there are more fights and club infractions that occur on Canadian golf courses as well. Rule 42-5(b) in the Royal Canadian Golf Association Decisions Book states: 'A player shall incur a two stroke penalty for sticking his club between an opponents legs as he's about to putt. (c) A player shall incur a five-stroke major penalty for dropping his gloves and beating the snot out of his opponent.'
Sadly, there are other countries where scads of people play left-handed as well. In the United States, for example, a mutinous right-handed golfer started a website specifically for left-handed golfers. Left-teegolf.com is a site devoted entirely to the needs of left-handed golfers. This is a place where lefties can escape from the world of right-hand domination. Here lefties can cry on each other's shoulders and make lame attempts to slander all the 'big, mean right-handers.'
So how does the world rid itself of this colossal problem? Well, for starters, left-handedness often starts during infancy. Interestingly, many kids develop a talent for doing things left-handed right around the time they start noticing certain body parts. For example, in order for a boy to play with himself and pick his nose at the same time, the left hand needs to be engaged. Not surprisingly, it is during this early stage of manhood that the left hand starts to see considerable use and left-handedness can take root. Unfortunately, the only way the problem will dissipate is if parents can draw interest away from their children's love of their own 'nose candy' and private parts. Sadly, it appears to be a losing battle as there are few things more difficult than trying to curb a young lad's desire to play with his niblicks.
Yes, it appears as if the left-handed golfer is here to stay. With left-handed talent on display from the likes of Mickelson and Weir (and Canadian couples having limited recreational options in the wintertime but to breed hockey players), lefties will continue to attack our courses. That is, until the next flood.
Andrew Penner is a Canadian golf pro who was born left-handed but had it beaten out of him by Jesuits
|| 13 - JUNE 2002