If a world record was set in the PGA qualfying school this week, it was for complaints. It was a rare player who "shot a showman" (a score that starts with an 8), who blamed himself.
As a tournament director Laborn Harris noted trenchantly, "There are a lot of people here reaching for the brass ring, but very few striving for excellence."
The worst performance in defeat went to the gaudiest of the entrants. All week the full-bearded fellow paraded in his Panama hat with red sash, silver sunglasses, and flaired sequin-studded jeans. He failed to make the cut.
Asked how his round had gone, "I'm a caddy," he replied.
Certainly Canadian Dan Talbot had only himself to blame. He was penalized four strokes for taking 16 clubs on the course, two over the limit. But, Talbot explains, the clubs were on the seat of his electric cart, not in his bag. Didn't that make a difference?
Rockey Rockett of Gastonia, N.C. has a unique explanation for taking a quadruple bogey, on a 320-yard par four. His spirit was temporarily posessed, he said.
"I was seven under par on the 17th tee and something made me take out a driver," said the Rocketman. "I hooked it out of bounds. My mind went blank, I guess. Before I knew it, I'd hooked another drive O.B. within six feet of the first one. When you make a disastrous swing, you feel like you're going numb all over. Sometimes you do it again before you come to your senses."
Marty Joyce from Illinois had a slightly better alibi for his opening 80. "They gave me a gas golf cart that wouldn't start right or go up hills," he said. "For the first seven holes I was driving up every hill backward. The people with me thought I was crazy.
"I worked a year for this and before I had a cart that would go forward, I was six over par."
Perhaps Carl Peterson of Virginia Beach has the best rationale for his early exit.
On Wednesday, during a thunderstorm delay, he and several other players were trapped under a rain shelter with a lunatic.
"Players had been noticing this guy for two days," said Peterson. "He was dressed like a golfer, but he'd walk up to people and say, 'I only hit my wedge 113 yards, that's my problem.' Or, 'My mother told me always to get an early tee-off time and eat orange Life Savers.'
At least not until the rain dealy.
"The guy wandered up in the rain and knelt on the green and started pouring sugar on his golf culb and trying to set it on fire with matches." said Peterson. "We were trapped with this guy for an hour with him doing Kung-fu moves and smashing beer cans with his golf club."
Peterson selected the proper club for the situation - a sand wedge. "If he'd made any funny moves near me with that club, it would have been tough luck judge. I'd a knocked him naked."
I'm telling you, squirrels were following this guy. They knew he was nuts. He scared me and I ain't afraid of nothin'."