Clubbed Into SubmissionMystery teasers are little stories where you need to figure out what happened based on the given clues.
Nora sat on the clubhouse verandah ("Aspirate the final 'h', deah; it shows you pay attention") of the Uppity Pines Golf Club, nursing an honest-to-goodness mint julep. If she'd known how potent the things were, she never would have ordered a second one. She blamed it on the cute little mint leaves. Still, she had only a light "buzz" as the final group came to the 18th green, greeted by a round of applause from some 200 spectators, all of whom appeared to shop at the same sporting goods store.
As Nora felt she was recovering full use of her faculties, a roar went up from the green. She saw a shiny putter raised high into the air. It had a funny shape, but she remembered that there were some unusual styles of clubs available these days. Looking at those around her, Nora concluded that the golfers could afford just about anything their whims suggested. She imagined the crowd as flows of money and influence; the concept meshed well with mint julep.
"It appeahs to be ovah, deah." Ellie Law's large, blue eyes gently called Nora back to the mundane world. "Ah did not not recognahz that putter in the ai-uh as Hiram's, so ah surmahz that Mistuh Greens has carried the day." Nora was finally interpreting the accent of northern South Carolina as easily as she had learned the clipped English of her cousins in the UK. Hi handled the publication contracts for Nora's adventures; she had been their house guest for a week of genteel vacation. She was also beginning to feel accepted by their acquaintances, rather than merely tolerated. Ellie normally would have been at the 18th green for moral support, but her arches were giving out again.
Sure enough, careful inspection revealed that the congratulatory mayhem's epicenter was Rex Greens, the oft-abrasive auto magnate. A smaller knot of support surrounded Mr. Law. The two had started the day tied for the lead, and played even through 17 holes while gaining a second stroke on the competition.
"It appears that you're correct, Ellie, bless his heart." Nora had learned that social signal on the second day, a softer version of the "smiley face" used in email. "How are your feet?"
" Ah can sustain ten minutes, Ah am suah. It's the leahst a wife can do." She rose gracefully, noted Nora doing likewise. This once, Ellie walked ahead of her guest, providing her husband a hero's welcome.
"Well played, deah! I'm so proud of you!"
"Thank you, Ellie. It's so kind of you to meet me out heah. How ah youh ahches?"
"Bettah, deah, thank you foah asking. How ah youhs? You've walked seven thousahnd yahds foah days in a roah."
"Well enough, thahnk you. Let's go to the ball room. You must see Rex's winning putt!"
The recap was Nora's favorite part. Although Ellie described it much more tactfully, it seemed that two geeky college-age scions of club staff had spent the entire day editing digital video clips as they became available. They started with the final putt, a beautifully-read stroke that travelled no less than thirty-eight feet from putter head to the cup. The look on Rex's face was the exuberance of success and pride in domination.
Nora sat through the entire show, twenty-five minutes of good golf, recovery, excuses for the muffed shots and missed chances, and the occasional friendly dig at Hi, which he took with smiling aplomb. Rex proudly gave his caddy credit for excellent club selection: the driver and 4-wood to the first green for a birdie, the 3-wood off the 7th tee, and a tricky 5-wood shot from the edge of the creek on 13. He rambled across the fairways, pulling a nice 2-iron recovery from beside a tree root on 6, a cut-and-run 3-iron on 8, a 9-iron from the fringe of the 10th green that nearly dropped for an eagle, and various uses of irons 4 through 8 on other holes. Nice recoveries with his sand wedge saved par on 7 and scrambled for only a single bogey on 12.
"I think he used everything in that bag at least three times today," Hi remarked. "You doahn't often meet a golfah that selective, and so cahrrect."
"Why two putters?" Nora queried, "The winning one is an unusual shape."
"One foah short putts, one foah long. The bent-shaft club gives Rex moah accurahcy, even though it weighs enough to roast a small hog." Nora smiled at the image.
"Now, Rex will have to mention this incident ..." On the screen, Rex's image stood on the fairway, contemplating the freshening cross-wind for his approach shot. In the background, you could see a small cluster of leaves blow behind Rex and into the sand trap, where they nestled snugly against Hi's ball.
"I lost two strokes on that hoahl. Can't move the impediment in a trap; we use full PGA rules heah."
"You do?" Nora's eyebrows went up.
"Of coahse. Nothing but the most propah cahnduct and regulation foah our club championship."
"Really? How interesting." Nora's voice had suddenly reverted to her Yankee twang. "Hi, how promptly could you introduce me to the TD? Before Rex drops that 38-footer again? I think it's important."
Hi looked at her, recognizing his client rather than his house guest. "Whatever it is, I rahthah believe I should trust you -- without asking why."
Nora smiled. "If it's not too much trouble."
Fifteen minutes later, a shocked audience watched as Rex, red-faced, presented the large championship trophy to a stunned Hiram Law, accepting a share of 4th prize for himself.
What had Nora noticed that gave Hi Law the victory?
HintRex drew a penalty under PGA rules.
AnswerThe video, plus Rex's own testimony, showed him using four woods, eight irons, a sand wedge, and both putters -- a total of 15 clubs. PGA rules allow only 14 clubs in the bag. The penalty for extra clubs is two strokes per hole, but no more than four strokes in a round.
Rex quickly reviewed the clubs he'd used, and immediately ceded the issue. In the spirit of golfing sportsmanship, he imposed upon the director to let Rex, himself, present the first-place trophy to the rightful winner.
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