Scanning our table of contents just now, it occurred to me that the Floridians we feature in this issue would make a pretty intriguing foursome. Forget for a minute that one has passed away, and it's pretty easy to imagine them charging around a golf course together—say, the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium course.
Look! They've arrived at the seventeenth tee.
First up is Greg Norman. (In this group, he has the honor on every tee.) Maybe it's a bit of a stretch to call the Aussie a Floridian, but the guy has made the state his own. Not only has he raised his family there, he runs his global corporation out of Jupiter and has established a one-man brand that can be found on everything from yachts to wine to grass to golf courses. He's put down deeper roots in the state than have most other pros living there, including Isleworth resident Eldrick Woods.
Pin is on the far right, Sunday placement. No sweat: The Shark knocks it stiff.
Next up, Florida Governor Jeb Bush. You figure he's next to play because there's no way any Bush is going to wait around too long on a golf course. He may not play as much as he used to, but he still carries an eleven handicap and can beat all the mere presidents in the family. Practice swing?Forget it. One slash and his ball is on the green, front left. Nice shot. Tricky putt from there, though—might need a favorable Supreme Court ruling.
Third to play is Chris Sullivan, founder of the Australia-themed Outback Steakhouse chain, headquartered in Tampa. He, naturally, has been sticking close to Norman the whole way around, trying to absorb some Aussie wisdom. Since Norman has recently launched his own restaurant, he'd rather talk about golf. Sullivan starts his backswing but at the top is distracted by the sight of the Bloomin' Onion I, the blimp his company sends around to cover golf tournaments. Shank. Splash.
Batting cleanup is Joe Lee, recently deceased, the legendary Florida architect who partnered with Dick Wilson on scores of the state's best courses. A fine player in his day, Gentleman Joe was a purist known for his love of straightforward strategy and classic design. So you can imagine what he thinks of this track. Lee is pulling up the rear because he lost interest, oh, about fifteen holes ago. But I like to think that at this moment he could summon a memory of swings past and cut a sweet little fade right up there next to Norman, just to show 'em.
What, only Tiger Woods can see dead people?