Golf

Golf's groupies a secret world

2009-12-09 14:15
Tiger Woods (File)
Orlando - Tiger Woods isn’t the only golfer with carousing issues. Retired players and current caddies have spoken out about the game inside the real PGA: The “Party Groupie Association.”

According to The Daily Beast's Gerald Posner, the shock surrounding Woods's revelations this past week had a lot to do with his carefully generated squeaky-clean image. At the professional level, however, there’s a secret underworld not unlike many other major league sports. An investigation turned up groupies, carousing and wild sex as a central element for many players on the PGA Tour.

Posner spoke to eight retired golfers, current caddies, and ex-PGA workers. All spoke on the condition of anonymity.

These sources recounted stories of “hounds” or “wild men” inside the small professional fraternity. One of the names that came up the most: John Daly. Some of the stories are well known, such as when he passed out drunk at Hooters or showed up at one tournament with scratches on his face from an angry wife (he’s on his fourth marriage). What isn’t publicly known is that in 2006, Daly’s autobiography originally included several torrid adult-only escapades. Sources say that business advisors thought the material far too racy, even for Daly, and talked the golfer out of it. Whole sections were cut from the first draft, including references to threesomes, and his then-wife Sherrie installing cameras on his tour bus to deter sex with groupies.

Golfers like Daly log a lot of time on the road, away from families, ensconced in deluxe hotel suites. A top golfer might do up to 20 one-week tournaments a year.

According to the ex-players and the caddies, so-called “gallery girls” exist: the prettiest girls at the tournament who get prominent placement at the front line of the ropes that set off the spectators from the players. If a player finds a girl interesting, it’s the caddy who might actually make the contact.

“I’ve been told ’Look around the ropes,’” says one caddie. “’See who is easy on the eyes.’”

Caddies frequently pull the prettiest girls out of the autograph line, often offering a private chat with the pro. The caddy then often serves as the go-between. Players never give out their telephone number or contact information, instead leaning on the caddy as a trusted arranger.

Tournament volunteers

“Some of the girls become tournament volunteers,” one retired player tells me. “That way they can run errands, or drive the players to the driving range or other places. It’s the best chance for a one-on-one.”

“You’d be surprised if you check the bios of all the pros,” one caddie tells me, “how many say they met their wife at this or that tournament.” That doesn’t mean that every wife who met her pro golfing husband at a tournament was a groupie, but it’s another sign of how much social and extracurricular life is part of the pro tour.

Sources said that clubhouses sometimes resembled frat houses, with golfers exchanging graphic stories of the previous night’s escapades. Players talk about “the 19th hole,” or dub a girl willing to have anal sex a “double bogey.” A “water hole” is anyone who performs only oral sex.

Almost everyone spoken to said Woods had a reputation, since the mid-1990s, as a womaniser. Two of those interviewed claimed to “know” that one of golf’s superstars, and his wife, were swingers, a rumour that persistently makes the rounds on the Internet and is repeated even by other golfers on the tour.

So Tiger Woods surely seems to have a lot of company in the golfer’s behaving badly department. The big difference: no one else on the tour has made $1 billion based on a reputation of perfection.

Gerald Posner is The Daily Beast's Chief Investigative Reporter.

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