Last Thursday, Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz followed prominent Iowa fan Zach Johnson around the course at the John Deere Classic. Johnson shot a 68 that day, although he played much better in the subsequent three rounds and won the tournament on the second hole of a sudden death playoff Sunday. After the round, Ferentz and Johnson met and chatted. Friend of the Pants Mike Hlas has an account of that meeting that's based on things like "facts," "reality," and "honest observations." On the other hand, we here at BHGP have spies who smuggled us this account of their meeting. As always, dear readers, we leave it for you to decide which account you prefer.
Hey there, Zach.
Oh wow, hey, Coach. Thanks for coming out to the tournament today.
Sure, sure. It's my pleasure to support a fellow Hawkeye great.
...er, right, about that...
I, uh, didn't actually go to Iowa.
Nope. They, uh, didn't even offer me a scholarship.
Huh. That seems pretty foolish.
Pretty sure I would have offered you a scholarship.
If I was a golf coach, I mean.
Which I'm not.
/awkward laugh Thanks, Coach.
So where did you end up going?
Drake, huh? Not real familiar with them, gotta say. They don't make our schedule much, you know?
Real good job out there on the course today. I thought you gave a really great effort. That's just a tough golf course out there. A real tough opponent.
Uh, yeah, it definitely got the better of me at times.
The way you laid up on that one hole on the back-nine... wow. I mean, wow. That was just real impressive to me. Sometimes you just need to know when to punt and save things for another day, you know?
Uh... right. It was just the prudent play, I guess.
You can never be too prudent, that's what I always say.
I wanted to name one of my girls Prudence. /chuckles
Mary vetoed that one, though. Probably a good move, looking back at it, you know.
Anyway, Zach, I really respect the way you play. Not too flashy. Real conservative. You're not bombing the ball down the fairway like some of those guys.
Well, if I could drive it that far, I probably --
/oblivious That's just showing off. Can't stand that. "Flashy's for pimps, whores, and Southerners, son." Norm said that to me one time when I asked him about blitzing.
You know, statistically, a well-designed, genuinely surprising blitz can be an incredibly successful play, so --
And you don't take so many of those dumb, risky shots like Mickelson. I can't stand that guy. What's he thinking? I mean, really, what goes through his head? I don't get it. That U.S. Open a few years ago? The one he lost because he decided to get all cute and risky on the last hole? That just blew me away. I mean... just real, real surprising. I couldn't wrap my head around that at all.
Also, he's a lefty. Damn degenerates, all of them.
You know, I had a lefty quarterback a few years ago. Boy, it did not go well. That was rough.
I've run offenses where we had an honest to god statue at quarterback -- hand to God, we borrowed Nathan Chandler from the UI Museum of Art for Saturdays -- and I've run offenses where we just pulled a guy out of the food court at Hillcrest -- you know, that's where we found Sam Brownlee, no lie -- and once I ran an offense where every guy on the line was about 200 lbs. and couldn't grow facial hair... and, I promise you, none of them -- truthfully, not one of those offenses -- was as bad as the offense I had with that lefty.
Yeah, that was a tough season. For you guys, I mean. For the team. I won the Masters that year. So, um, kind of a good year for me.
/oblivious Finally Ken told me you could actually bench a guy even if he wasn't hurt or got arrested. Wow! I mean, really, wow! Totally opened my eyes. I wish I'd known that a year sooner. We had a guy at wide receiver that year, he went and had hand replacement surgery over the summer. Can you believe it? Really, hand replacement surgery. Got himself some flippers instead. Kind of weird, right? Well, I don't know if you ever played football -- did you ever play football?
Uh, well, I --
But, trust me, it's not easy to catch a football with flippers. Not easy at all. Really hard, actually. Real tough. But, you know, he was on top of the depth chart, so there you go.
Anyway, I ended up with another lefty quarterback after that.
Oh yeah, I remember him. Wienke, right? He was going to Michigan.
He was all excited to play for Lloyd. Real excited. Just thought he was the cat's pajamas. Anyway, Lloyd steps down, calls it quits.
And Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez.
Right, right. You know, Rich was a nice guy, real nice guy. Gave me a real good CD. Josh somebody, I think. Anyway, good guy, but boy, just a bad fit. A real bad fit. And John doesn't think he's gonna fit there anymore. So he calls me up -- and then Lloyd calls me up too, just singing the kid's praises -- and I just felt so bad for him. Real bad. So I said, sure, come on over.
Anyway, I turned him into a punter. I figure that'll teach those lefties.
Um, aren't you left-handed, Coach?
WHO TOLD YOU THAT?
THAT'S... I DON'T...
it is my secret shame
Really? I mean, there's no reason to be ashamed of it, Coach. There's nothing wrong with being left-handed.
Oh, Zach... You're -- how old are you?
36? So you're -- yeah -- you're just a young man, really. Pretty young, you know.
Um, but --
You're young, see, so you don't remember what it used to be like. It was tough back then. Real tough.
Uh, what was tough?
Teddy Southpaw. He ran my neighborhood with a left-handed fist of cruelty. Everyone hated him. Just couldn't stand him. And his left hand. He did everything with that hand. Pointed at you with it. Threw rocks at you with it. Slapped you with it. Gave you wet willies, purple nurples, and wedgies with it. Cheated at jacks with it. That damn left hand.
Coach, that makes no sense. Seriously, not a lick of sense. That Teddy kid just sounds like an asshole. Left-handed or not.
I can never forget that hand, Zach. It haunts my dreams.
But it's totally irration--
And ever since then, I've never liked lefties. Even myself. It sickens me to have to do things left-handed.
I wish I could be right-handed. I really do.
Uh, Coach, this has been swell, but I need to hit the range and get ready for tomorrow.
Right, right. Of course. Practice is key. Gotta respect practice. Well, good luck the rest of the weekend, Zach.
Thanks. Good luck to you and your guys this season, Coach.
Thanks, Zach. Really appreciate it. But don't forget: the hand knows. The hand always knows. And the hand cannot be trusted.
/nodding head, backing away slowly
(quietly) ...maybe I should hang out with Fran instead.