Matt Wexley, one of my brother Scott’s best college friends, never much liked me. Maybe it was my smug attitude in those youthful days. Maybe it was my fine olive skin, which contrasts so sharply with Wexley’s pale hue. No one knows for sure.
Whatever the case, Wexley’s ire toward me always ratcheted up a notch when we stepped onto a golf course together. One spring day in Ann Arbor, Mich., that ire reached a zenith.
The incident began when, after a horrific quadruple bogey 9 on the long 3rd, I stomped off the green without waiting for Scott or Wexley to finish out. Walking to the 4th tee, Wexley admonished me for my poor behavior, then stood appalled as I helicoptered my driver 40 yards following a weak slice.
Impressively, Wexley played an even worse tee shot. As his topped drive bounced through the rough short of the fairway, it ricocheted off the driver I had just thrown. Incredibly (and amusingly), we never found the ball.
On Wexley played, fuming now. When he reached the green, he faced a 40-foot putt, steeply downhill and breaking sharply right to left.
As Scott and I looked on, Matt took a big stroke – way too big, in fact. The moment it left the blade, two things were clear: The putt was far too high, and it was going to roll way past the hole.
Sensing opportunity in the moment, I pounced.
“Trickle down,” I said with understated insincerity.
Wexley’s ball was still some 6 feet right as it passed the cup with alarming speed. It finally came to rest 20 feet beyond the cup.
By then he wasn’t looking anymore. Neither was Scott, who was moving to intercede as his second or third best friend charged at me with malicious intent.