Dear Jack...

June 09, 2003

At age 13, a lefthanded Canadian named Mike Weir wrote a letter
to his hero, Jack Nicklaus, asking a crucial question: Should I
switch sides and begin playing righthanded, like so many people
have been telling me to? Nicklaus replied that the kid should
stick to his natural swing. In the wake of Weir's victory at the
Masters, it seems everyone's writing Dear Jack letters, seeking
tips from golf's favorite advice columnist.

Dear Jack,

I'm a lefthander, like Mike Weir, and everybody wants me to
change my style too. "Stop hitting driver off the deck, through
trees and over water," they tell me. "And don't try to ricochet
your ball off the clubhouse onto the green." Are they right?
Please tell me, so I can be like Mike and finally win my first
major.
Left Out in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Dear Lefty,

As I told li'l Weirsy 20 years ago, a golfer must always be true
to himself. You are the exception, you lunatic! For God's sake,
stop showing off and start thinking out there. Remember: a tree
might be 90% air, but your head shouldn't be.

Dear Jack,

I usually try to explode stereotypes, but when it comes to women
I've got this thing for blondes. Am I guilty of prejudice? Should
I have my foundation establish an outreach program for smokin'
brunettes?
Woody in Windermere, Fla.

Dear Woody,

You're guilty, all right. Guilty of good taste! My lovely wife,
Babs, is a golden blonde, and after 42 years of marriage our love
life is still groovy. So don't sweat the brunettes--leave 'em for
the Q school guys.

Dear Oso de Oro,

¬°Ay caramba! First they give me stroke for slow play, then the
world goes loco when I refuse to accept the penalty. Help me
restore my honor: Play in my competition, the Seve Trophy, 6-9
Noviembre.
Raging Bull in Pedrena, Espana

Dear Rager,

Talk about bull! What a bebe! You know you're in trouble when you
need to look to your countryman Sergio Garcia for tips on
maturity and proper on-course comportment. Unfortunately, I can't
honor your request. I'm saving myself for more meaningful
tournaments, like Nationwide tour pro-ams.

Dear Jack,

I've met the most wonderful guy! He's successful, handsome and so
secure. He doesn't mind that I'm so much taller than he is or
that I always beat him at golf. There's only one hitch--he's my
boss. Should I say goodbye to Ty?
Sleepless in Daytona Beach

Dear Sleepless,

Decommission this tryst on the double. I mean, Arnold and I
respected Deane Beman, but you didn't see us sucking his toes.
Your hunky honcho might be Ty-die-for, but you've got to think of
the LPGA, which I don't think stands for Ladies Pawed by Golf
Administrators.

Dear Jack,

Wanna be a captain's pick at next year's Ryder Cup? I'd rather
have you with a tin hip than some of them snotty little pros with
hearts of glass. With the greatest player of all time providing
roster depth, they won't call me Shallow Hal.
Cap'n Crunch in Shreveport, La.

Dear Cap'n,

Thanks for the offer, but I'll be 64 next year, and it's time to
let the youngsters have their day. Have you tried Hale Irwin?

Dear Jack,

Over the past year I have been a mite troubled by gender issues.
I act tough in public, but when I hang up my jacket at the end of
the day and look in the mirror, I face a terrible truth. Yes,
Jack, I am a woman trapped in a man's body. Should I keep hiding
my secret, or should I tell the world in a sharply worded
three-page press release?
Master of Disguise in Augusta

Dear Master,

What color ball do you use, pink? Seriously, fella, take heart,
because you're not alone. Some of the most powerful men in
America have doubts about their masculinity; they join macho
all-male golf clubs to compensate. My advice: Tough it out and do
your job like a man, but honor your inner party girl by always
wearing something frilly under that green jacket.

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: ERIC PALMA

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)