People often ask me, "Brian, what's the draw for you to Turkey?" Now, aside from an incredibly favorable exchange rate between the USD and Turkish Lira, gorgeous scenery, astonishingly fun night life in Istanbul, exceptional food, historic sites and landmarks, the possibility for showing up in another "Taken" sequel ... I could go on, but instead let me share this story:
Quick anecdote from the first tee on the first day: This is the first World Golf Final and tensions are understandably high. Organizers are trying to figure out what to expect, and, like all live events, "that's a dilly of a pickle, neighborino." In any case, the crowd and, shamefully, the press were a bit overzealous on the first tee jostling for position. Mind you, I had my Bill Keane "Wasn't Me" ghost with me, so it wasn't me.
But yeah, according to some press reports, the head of the Turkey Golf Association "headbutted" a local reporter who, after numerous and insistent verbal requests to move, refused to move. Not that I'm here to condone violence, but I will say that it was much more "physically accosting" rather than "headbutting" or something else so gauche; but that spontaneity and the logic of "Well, a headbutt will solve this, tout de suite?" That is an aspect of Turkey that draws me back, you just never know what will happen.
For what it's worth, the reporter was fine, save for a pair of broken sunglasses. Still, THAT happened and also the dude is likely gonna get off Scot free, which leads me to this bulleted list:
How To Get Away With Headbutting/Physically Accosting Someone
- Be Irish.
- Short on Irish blood? Put down those vampire fangs, Drac. You don't need to be Irish, just be in a position of power.
- Be charismatic and cool as a cucumber when the press comes around asking about "the incident."
- Apologize like a charismatic and cool cucumber would.
A lesson to be certain for locals, journos and tourists, Turkey is awesome and Turks be gully, so you have fun, but within reason.
Following the sturm und drang at the first tee, the rest of the opening day went fine, unless your name was Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, who both came up on the wrong side of match play rounds to Charl Schwartzel and Matt Kuchar, respectively. In the other bracket Lee Westwood and Justin Rose made inroads towards the semis with Round 1 wins over Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan.
Day 2 opened with near perfect weather conditions: clear skies, beams of sunlight flitting and flirting with cypress leaves and bird wings, fish leaping out of the water hazards, idyllic golf setting. Sadly, the perfect weather didn't last as dark and foreboding thunderheads rolled in about halfway through the second round and the four pairings were lucky to finish before ...THE RAINS CAME -- a deluge that lasted for the rest of the day and, incidentally, knocked out the power at the resort I'm staying at.
I know, I know, "Awww, poor baby." But guys, the velociraptors got loose from their pen! [Ed. Wut?] In any case, I've got a four-minute video from the balcony of my room of the rain. It's very compelling.
With the second day of matches being washed out, everything was delayed, up to and including the determining matches to see who would advance to the semis. I'll keep you a spry of all developments (Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, and Charl Schwartzel are setting the course on fire right now. No, not literally.)
- Rory McIlroy's "TEH OMG SPECIAL LADY FRIEND" Caroline Wozniacki has been walking the course all week with the crowds. (She's the one on the other side of the rope, with the pass that reads "All Access" and by all measures seems an affable, funny, and awesome human.)
- On the first day of play and so far the "WTF Moment" of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final, was this guy:
Right there. THAT's the triple crown of nouveau riche golf fans crashing the gates. To wit: straw hat, aviator shades, Stone Roses (!!!) tee, and striped pants. So, technically, it's a quadruple crown of nouveau riche -- and he wasn't even an ugly American! UK STAND UP! "Bravo, sir. Bravo."