I’m NOT a fan of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show. I’ve listened to it only a couple times—for a few minutes—and that was enough to be grossed out. As much as I find him offensive, my Dad finds him terrific. No shock there…
A few years ago I attended a PGA golf tournament, the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. This event is a big deal to the Monterey Bay community where I live. It attracts celebrity golfers like Clint Eastwood, George Lopez, Michael Bolton, Kevin Costner, and the fan favorite: Bill Murray.
The day I went it was the usual February weather—cold, windy, and occasionally raining. I am a fair-weather golf fan. There isn’t anyone I’d watch play golf if I’m getting wet in the process.
I hung out in the Pro Shop until the skies cleared somewhat. To kill time, I bought a bunch of stuff—like a canvas bucket hat with a Pebble Beach emblem on it—for my Dad—a life-long golfer.
Then Frankie* wanted to be fed so I looked for the nearest snack shack. It was located on a fairway. As I ate a sandwich (WAY overpriced and not particularly yummy), a foursome of golfers played through. Someone said, “There’s Rush Limbaugh.”
I got the big idea to ask Rush to autograph the hat for my Dad. I followed him to the next tee—and the next tee, like a stalker, waiting to make my move. He had two male handlers around him—I guess like bodyguards. They kept an eye on the crowd—probably me, too. The handlers chatted with the golf fans. Rush spoke to no one, not even his caddy. He looked as gloomy as the weather.
Rush teed off again. I shadowed him along the fairway. He definitely was better with the driver than irons or a putter. I trailed him for another hole, getting up my nerve to approach him. Because of the lousy weather (or the lack of star appeal?) the crowd had drifted away from Rush.
At the next tee there was a wait. The other players mulled around, the damp air misting over everyone. Rush sat on a bench by himself. He looked lonely. Here was my opportunity!
I closed my umbrella, pulled the hat out of my bag, and walked up to a handler.
“Do you think Mr. Limbaugh would sign this hat? It’s for my Dad.”
“Sure,” the handler said. “He’s friendly, but he’s hard of hearing. Make sure you speak to his face.”
Hat in hand I walked up to Rush and smiled. He looked at me, kinda shy or perturbed. I couldn’t tell. I said I was sorry to interrupt his game but could he please autograph the hat because my Dad was a BIG fan. He said something in the affirmative. (Can’t remember.) I handed him a pen. I noticed a large hearing aid in his right ear.
Rush scribbled his name, looked it over, liked what he saw, and handed it back to me. I told him I was much appreciative and he smiled.
I thanked the handler, too. He said something like, “See, he’s a nice guy.” And yes, my Dad was thrilled. I think the Rush hat is one of his prized possessions.
To this day I cannot reconcile the obnoxious Rush on the radio and the quiet, subdued Rush at Pebble Beach, who actually seemed harmless and like a kind person. Maybe that’s the side of him that the new wife likes. Cuz it certainly can’t be the feminazi-spewing over-the-top nut-job jerk on the radio.
This week the U.S. Open is being played at Pebble Beach. I won’t be going—as the ticket prices are a joke and so is my free time to lollygag around a golf course. Besides, it wouldn’t matter what day I’d choose, it would be crummy weather.
But if I were going, I would watch Lefty and hope he wins. I like the wife (he’s still on the first one), the kids, the mom. Plus tomorrow is Phil’s 40th birthday. That would be a cool way to celebrate.
Good luck to all the golfers, even Rush if he’s playing, but I won’t be stalking him again.
*NOTE: See blogs dated 2/03/09, 2/04/09, 2/16/09 for the Frankie Chronicles: Tales of a Tumultuous Tummy.