UN­DER­COVER TOUR PRO

Field guide to groupies and stalk­ers.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents 2/ 15 - With Max Adler

I’m 29. I’m in good shape but too skinny to be any ideal of male beauty. Back in col­lege, at bars, I never felt like a mag­net for at­ten­tion. Walk­ing down a beach with my shirt off, the only rea­son fe­males ever look twice is to mar­vel at the sever­ity of my golf tan.

But when you’re post­ing up in a new city ev­ery week, you’re a pro­fes­sional ath­lete, and you’re in town for an event that in­volves lots of lo­cal busi­nesses and char­i­ties and their ac­cor­dant din­ners and par­ties, sev­eral with co­pi­ous day-drink­ing, well . . . it’s a dif­fer­ent ball­game. I get my num­ber of cat­calls from the stands. Not as many as some guys, and cer­tainly not as many as Camilo Vil­le­gas. ( Who does?) And if there’s a common theme, it’s my pants. “Hey, nice britches.” “Hey, I like your pants. . . . No, you don’t un­der­stand. I re­ally like your pants.”

Never mind that my wife is stand­ing 30 feet away. Women who shout things typ­i­cally aren’t the kind to bother to know if a player is mar­ried. No quick Google search or even wait­ing un­til I take my glove off to re­veal my shiny band. After a few beers in the di­rect sun, a young lady is go­ing to speak her mind.

Some­times they jump the ropes. At one event I was paired with Rickie Fowler, and on this par 3 a woman comes run­ning out after we hit our tee shots, cock­tail in hand, and pro­fesses her love to Rickie. We chat­ted the whole way to the green, and then se­cu­rity got her.

If there are four tour­na­ments sin­gle guys mark on their cal­en­dars, they’re Dal­las, Phoenix, Char­lotte and Hil­ton Head. If you’re look­ing for trou­ble, you can find it any­where, but those four ci­ties tend to gen­er­ate the most sto­ries. Even if you’re out in jeans and a T-shirt, the women ask pretty quickly whether you’re a pro golfer.

This past year at The Greenbrier I was on the prac­tice putting green when an older woman got my at­ten­tion. “Hey, you in the pur­ple: My daugh­ter lives in New York City. Want to see a pic­ture?”

I won’t re­hash the rest, but she wanted to set me up with her daugh­ter and had no spe­cial rea­son for so­lic­it­ing me over any other dude. Amaz­ing.

A lot of play­ers on so­cial me­dia get creepy stalk­ers. A close buddy had this one woman who liked and com­mented on his ev­ery In­sta­gram photo for about three years. He never had the heart to block her, but then at the Memo­rial he no­tices her in the gallery. His friends over­hear her telling peo­ple that she’s his girl­friend. So even­tu­ally his bud­dies con­front her and say, “That’s funny. We’re stay­ing in the same house as ----- this week, and he never men­tioned you.”

Ob­vi­ously, there’s one golfer who dom­i­nated the sport while simultaneously liv­ing wild. There’s no bet­ter case study that proves golf is played be­tween our ears. If you’ve been out par­ty­ing with a woman or women you’ve just met, that’s go­ing to put more bounce in the step of some guys than if they ate vegetables and slept nine hours. They’re walk­ing to the first tee think­ing, I’m in­vin­ci­ble. I’m go­ing to make 10 birdies. I know plenty of guys who do ev­ery­thing right – work out, go back to the ho­tel room to watch TV and not even sip a beer – and all they do is miss cuts.

Some vet­er­ans say the groupie ac­tiv­ity used to be much more in the open. That there were play­ers who’d just pick some­one out of the gallery, and they’d leave the course to­gether. They tell you about the guys who never would’ve sur­vived the mi­cro­scope of mod­ern me­dia. It’s prob­a­bly true that the threat of some­one snap­ping an in­del­i­cate pic­ture and post­ing it makes play­ers more care­ful, but it’s prob­a­bly also a case of old-timers wax­ing about how life used to be bet­ter.

From what I hear, the sin­gle guys are do­ing just fine.

I get my num­ber of cat­calls from the stands. Cer­tainly not as many as Camilo Vil­le­gas.

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