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Jayson Hron: Off the door frame, into the cup

By now, I've learned that the hallway outside my apartment has a tricky double-break. It actually only took me about two hours of indoor putting to read the twist, but it's taken me about a month to be able to do anything about it. Now, I feel fa...

By now, I've learned that the hallway outside my apartment has a tricky double-break. It actually only took me about two hours of indoor putting to read the twist, but it's taken me about a month to be able to do anything about it. Now, I feel fairly confident during my hallway putting sessions. Start it to the right, let it roll left, then watch it swerve back -- right into the mouth of the electric putting tutor.
In fact, the biggest obstacle I face now as I putt my Precept down the hallway is the ice-melting compound that the building owner uses on his sidewalks.
It actually reminds me of a time last summer when the folks at Lester Park turned me loose on their course, just after they blanketed the greens with a half-inch of fertilizer.
The ball rolls a bit, skids a little, then starts hopping from side to side like it's barefoot on hot sand.
Tenacity helped me overcome the double-break; a vacuum has been employed to solve the salt pellet problem.
Of course, the other renters laugh when they see me -- face covered in stubble, clad in my Nike sandals and a pair of khaki shorts -- contorting as my putt rolls toward the cup.
I'm sure that to them I look like a pathological golfer, dazed by the foot of snow that covers every golf course from here to Arkansas.
"Yes, I'm putting," I say.
Usually all they can do is laugh and walk away.
My only comfort is knowing that when summer comes, they'll miss that snaking 20-footer.
Some consider golf, with all of its natural splendor, therapeutic. If that's truly the case, then indoor golf facilities are surely the most common hang-out of people in dire need of therapy. I see the same faces during each visit to the Golf Skydome. On those faces, I see the same bewildered looks that my neighbors laugh at.
January is a difficult time to be a golfer, made more so by the nature of the game. I could go back to my hometown in August, put on my skates and find a hockey game easily. Golf, of course, is different. Certainly inventions like the Golf Skydome have made the winter months more bearable, but hitting a bucket of balls inside is like playing hockey on a Sony Playstation. Without the actual environment, it's not the same game. Luckily for hockey enthusiasts, all we need to re-create the environment is a 200-feet by 85-feet sheet of ice in a barn. It's difficult to move 7,000 yards of green grass inside.
Those problems, of course, are unfathomable in Kapalua, Hawaii, where the 2001 PGA season began on Thursday.
Defending Mercedes Championship title holder Tiger Woods was there, as were 32 other event winners from last season, and the weather was somewhat windy, but altogether splendid. The sun-bathed Plantation Course shimmered in greens and blues, making it hard to believe that the same country could also be home to a state under a blanket of white.
From the tropical paradise, Woods said that he could actually be better this season than he was last year, although it's hard to imagine that being possible. Woods was first in seven tour categories in 2000, including victories, earnings, top 10 finishes, total eagles, birdie average, greens in regulation and scoring average. That's a tough act to follow, but Woods, being near supernatural on the golf course, has stunned us before.
I, however, will just have to be content knowing that I am the world's best indoor putter, in dim light, after my vacuum has plowed me a clear path to the cup.
Jayson Hron is the sports editor for the
Budgeteer News. He can be reached by e-mail at jayson.hron@duluth.com or by phone at 723-1207.

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