The Hidden Ball Trick

Let’s be right up front about this: The Softball Coach has cheated on a golf course before. And I’ll do it again. See, for me, it doesn’t matter whether I win or lose. My thing is just being psychotic about not slowing down play or inconveniencing others.

It’s born of dribbling tee shots to the groans of the six foursomes waiting to tee off behind me as a youth just learning the game. Search for my ball in the woods? OK … a little. But if you’ve ever played a round with me, you know there’s always an extra ball in my back left pocket for just such occurrences. I subtly pull it out, drop it behind me, “find” it on the ground and play on.

If that sleight of hand means I’m ahead after 18 holes, then I suddenly remember a miscount on a different hole and add two strokes to my score. If I’m winning or losing by a lot, whatever.

Likewise, if my errant shots are slowing down play on a hole, I pick up, mark a 10 — or double whatever the par is — on the scorecard, and walk the rest of that hole, rooting the other guys on. It helps me take a deep breath and clear the self-hatred from my thoughts …

So we don’t have episodes like the day I stopped my driver mid-swing, turned my back on the ball, put my hands on my knees and just checked out for a moment. My partners looked on quizzically.

“I guess if you’re already silently calling yourself an [idiot] on the warm-up swing,” I said, “then it’s probably time to step away from the ball and take a chill pill.”

Anyway, knowing that I cheated to win would make me feel like even more of an [idiot].

But check out this guy.

OK, he’s made millions in his career, made $300,000-plus this year, it won’t hurt him in the long run. But wow.

That’s honesty.

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