“Ask anybody. It’s fun. It’s hard and you stand on green, green grass and it’s just you and the ball and there ain’t nobody to beat up on but yourself. Just like Mr. Newnan keeps hittin’ himself with the golf club when he gets angry. He’s broken his toe three times on account of it. It’s the only game I know that you can call a penalty on yourself, if you’re honest, which most people are. There just ain’t no other game like it.” – Hardy Greaves, “The Legend of Bagger Vance”
If you love the game of golf, you’re likely familiar with this quote from “The Legend of Bagger Vance.” An avid golfer, I’ve watched this movie as often as my wife has seen The Bridges of Fried Green Tomatoes Colored Purple That Got Their Groove Back – or whatever that damn movie she made me watch the other night was called.
In “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” busted war hero Capt. Rannulph Junuh (Matt Damon) looks to his mystical caddie Bagger Vance (Will Smith) to rediscover the swing that made him the golfing legend of Savannah, Georgia. Junuh faces his own demons as he plays an exhibition match against Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen.
In a mid-movie moment of classic foreshadowing, a young golf enthusiast named Hardy Greaves gives the aforementioned speech on why golf is so special.
Then, in the closing moments of the movie, Captain Junuh removes a twig of pine straw that causes his ball to move. When Junuh declares that he must call a penalty on himself on the last hole, the match is all but lost.
Despite his previous speech on the honesty of golfers, Hardy Greaves pleads for Junuh to ignore the infraction. “No one will ever know,” he says with tears in his eyes.
“I will, Hardy,” Junuh replies. “And so will you.”
The PGA and the Legend of Bagger Castro
I bring up this movie because those entrepreneurial Castro boys, Fidel and Raul, want to bring resort golf to Cuba.
And who can blame them? What with the low wages and sub-standard working conditions, Cuba is the perfect place for foreign tourists to experience 18 holes of politically repressed island links. And when the round is over a foursome can enjoy hand-rolled Cuban cigars not available at their local municipal course’s pro shop.