Mon Mar 16 10:42am EDT
Okay, ready for your you-gotta-be-kidding-me story of the week, if not the year?
Your setting: lovely St. Petersburg, Florida. Your heroine: 62-year-old Norweigan native Unni Haskell, who, after two months' worth of golf lessons, teed up her first-ever shot on a real live golf course.
On the first tee of the nine-hole par-3 Cypress Links in St. Pete, Ms. Haskell pulled out a driver -- this is a hundred-yard hole, but remember, Ms. Haskell had never played before -- and drilled a 75-yard corker that bumped, ran and ended up right in the hole.
That's right ... on the first swing of the first hole of the first course she ever played, Unni Haskell hit a hole-in-one.
"I didn't know it was that big of a deal,'' she told the St. Petersburg Times. "I thought all golfers do this.''
"She stood there and I could tell she was thinking about her grip and posture and everything,'' said PGA teaching pro Rick Sopka, who was with Haskell on the tee. "Then she makes her swing and hits it about 75 yards in the air. It kind of trundled up to the green and I'm like, 'Go in! Go in!' And then I go crazy, screaming and yelling. I give her a big hug. She didn't believe me. Then I said, 'Unni, here's the problem. There's nowhere to go from here but down.' ''
Now, our bitter and cynical culture is such that the immediate reaction is to call shenanigans, to put it politely, on this story. It's got echoes of the infamous Jacqueline Gagne 16-aces-in-six-months story, yes? And much like the two kids who hit back-to-back holes-in-one -- also in Florida, strangely enough -- it's too good of a story to believe. Plus, since the vast majority of us have never hit an ace -- and, obviously, could never match Unni Haskell's feat -- let's admit it, we're jealous as heck.
But it's honestly not that tough to believe. Apparently, Ms. Haskell has played tennis for quite some time. And a 100-yard hole isn't that tough to reach, particularly with a driver. Think about how many people spray golf balls around the course; doesn't it make logical sense that one of them would eventually drop the ball into the hole? It's the golf equivalent of the infinite monkeys on infinite typewriters eventually banging out the works of Shakespeare.
Still, I'm thinking Ms. Haskell missed an opportunity here. After she hit that shot, she should have dropped her clubs and walked away from the game, retiring as The Greatest Golfer In The History of the Universe. Nobody could ever top that.