Ihaven't played a round of golf in at least 20 years. Maybe 30.
But I do enjoy watching pro golf on TV.
Don't ask me why, I just do.
Or, at least, I used to.
I have to admit, however, that the last couple of weeks of TV golf -- the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship at Oak Hill -- have just about completely frayed my last nerve.
Now keep in mind that I think golfers and tennis players tend to have a little more prima donna in them than is necessary for pro athletes when it comes to the slightest bit of noise or movement anywhere within five miles of where they're standing.
That's a slight exaggeration, of course, but not by much.
Compared to other pro athletes -- baseball and basketball, in particular -- golfers and tennis players are the most easily distracted. Someone passes gas, they'll hear it. And react to it in a huff.
But watch a basketball player, especially on the visiting team, who is fouled with three seconds to go in a game -- it doesn't even have to be a championship game -- and with the game on the line, has to make two foul shots for his/her team to win.
The fans sitting behind the backboard, which is see-through glass, are yelling and screaming, waving signs, articles of clothing, swimming pool noodles and all manner of objects totally unrelated to the game of basketball, for no better reason than to district the player who's about to shoot a foul shot.
And while they're waving God knows what, they're also screaming at the top of their lungs. Anything to disturb the shooter's concentration.
It happens dozens of times a game. The players expect it, and deal with it. Basically they just ignore it. Tune out the noise. Zone out the visual distractions. It's called focus.
Same with hitters in baseball, facing a pitcher who throws 95-mph fastballs in the bottom of the ninth with the tying and winning runs sitting on second and third base. A hit wins the game. Fans are screaming and waving signs and hats and making enough noise to wake the dead.
Yet the hitter is supposed to ignore it, and get the winning hit.
But in golf, if someone sneezes into his sleeve or crinkles paper as he/she opens a candy bar, it's cause for immediate removal from the premises.
You get 30,000 people into a baseball stadium, and you can hardly hear yourself think. You get 30,000 people into a PGA golf tournament, and you can just about hear a pin drop.
I just think it's a bit overdone and unnecessary. That's all I'm saying.
But then I noticed -- for the first time, too, although it's apparently been happening for years -- a couple weeks ago, some idiot in the crowd yelling "Baba Booey" at the point of impact with the golf ball.
The first time I heard it, I asked myself, "What the heck is the guy saying?"
Ahhhh, he's saying "Baba Booey."
Then I asked myself what "Baba Booey" means, because there is apparently something going on in pop culture about which I'm unaware.
As it turns out, it might have something to do with a guy on "The Howard Stern Show" by the name of Gary Dell'Abate. He got the nickname "Baba Booey" more than 20 years ago, when he made reference to Quick Draw McGraw's sidekick Baba Looey, only he called him "Baba Booey," by mistake.
Here we are 23 years later, and the poor guy is still suffering for one slip of the tongue.
And for the rest of us, for some reason I can't figure, "Baba Booey" has become "the" thing to yell at golf tournaments.
It's asinine. In fact, since it has absolutely nothing to do with golf, it's worse than asinine. And it's stupid to boot.
It's worse than the other stupid thing I hear people yell at the point of impact during golf tournaments -- "mashed potatoes." It's like yelling "canned corn," or "Brussels sprouts." Equally as stupid.
Still, Baba Booey bugs me the most. Enough that I'll stop watching golf on TV if someone doesn't drag the offender or offenders off behind a grove of trees and yank his/their tongues out of their mouths.
Frankly, I don't understand the need to yell anything at a golf tournament. Maybe an innocent "Yeah," on a nice drive, or "Go, Tiger!" after a nifty 9-iron into the green.
But Baba Booey? C'mon. Give me a break.
There are just some people in this world who decide they aren't having fun unless they're yelling or doing something stupid to draw attention to themselves. "Baba Booey" 20 or 30 times during a golf tournament is just going too far. What does it mean?
It's not funny. It serves no useful purpose. It's certainly not cheering someone on to a better performance.
If you have an IQ of about 40, maybe it amuses you. Otherwise, it's just moronic.
Ian Poulter thinks some shock therapy for the loudest offenders might be appropriate.
And I think he might be right.
Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick firstname.lastname@example.org.