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I knew in the last four holes I did not make the cut.

I was hoping that was not the case. Anything can happen in golf. Everybody looked like they also were struggling.

But, in the end – well – I had a two-day 148 and the cut was 145.

This was the first weekend of the San Diego Amateur: a way-cool event of competitive golf for folks that normally play municipal courses. I know, we are way down on San Diego municipal golf and golfers in these days, but I swear these are worth while things for a city’s character.

To enter you need an index under 10; meaning you need to routinely be able to play 10 over par, or better. So, you kind of have to be into the game.

Next you have to apply early and be willing to pay a couple hundred bucks which buys you two days competitive golf if you miss the cut, or four days if you make the cut.

All the players are serious about golf. But, not like psycho. It is a physical and mental challenge. But it’s fun. And it’s ridiculously irritating.

If you win, few will know you won. There is no big pay-day. No press.

At the end of your life, when you try to remember all the important things that happened to you, you would recall you won the San Diego Am. And, that would be very cool.

So you get up and get to the courses before 6 a.m. to get ready to play at 7. You have good days and bad. Some bad days actually get good, and vice versa. It’s a head game – and keeping your head really matters, especially when things go bad. And, they most certainly will – for everyone that plays.

It takes about five hours for a round because everybody is very serious about this level of golf.

Now, in the end, everybody keeps their own score. We usually “keep” each others score cards to keep the game “honest,” but since every person in every foursome is all over the course, at the end of each hole it pretty much comes down to putting up your real number, because that really is the number.

Now, over two days, with hundreds of golf balls hit by characters in your foursome and others that periodically land their shots where you are playing, it would be incredibly easy to “shave” a shot, or two or more. I swear it’s almost impossible to track every score of every player, even in a foursome.

And, as the rounds go on, it’s possible to get a sense of what you need to score to get the next round, which is where everybody wants to be.

So, here’s where real numbers really matter. And, where real people really matter.

This isn’t Country Club golf. This is Muni golf, and it is the amateur. Only once a year.

Of the rest of the field in my flight, most missed the “cut” by just a few strokes. This year is over for them, as it is for me.

But, a lot of them could have improved their position by shaving a stroke here or there – and no one would have known the difference, except them.

We live in a city that has literally made false numbers a part of our collective nature. It demeans us all. It’s wrong, and bad, and disgusting. Recently, it has cost us at least $50 million dollars of our public treasury to pretend that we did not fake our numbers. We did. You have to be in the stupid club to not get that by now. We could have spent that $50 million doing great things. Not possible now. It’s lost. And, we aren’t close to the end of the process.

The whole purpose of the San Diego Am makes absolutely no sense if the people involved in the game don’t use real numbers. There is no reason for the golfers that play to even play the tournament if real numbers aren’t used.

And, I can tell you that the three others in my foursome that made the cut, one just barely, did so with real (sometimes ugly) numbers. That’s why they deserve to be where they are.

Several years ago I played a sponsored tournament and left the job of turning in our foursome’s scores to one of the participants of my foursome, one of which (not his) was pretty good.

Turns out he recorded his as the low score of the day and won a bunch of stuff. Must have thought he got away with something.

“The louder he talked of his honor the faster we counted our spoons.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882.

Pat Shea

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