There was lots of cheering and celebrating at our house Sunday night as we watched our friend, Graeme McDowell, make history as the first man from Northern Ireland to win the US Open. Graeme's dad's first words as he congratulated his son, "You're some kid!" pretty well sum up Graeme, who Steve and I refer to as "Grammer". It seems like just yesterday he was playing golf for UAB and driving a 1983 Toyota Tercel. I got to spend a weekend with him in 2002 when he joined Steve for a golf tournament in Steve's hometown of Geneva, Alabama. Graeme had just been awarded the Haskins Trophy, which is college golf's highest honor (think Heisman for golf), and it was a great honor to have someone of his caliber playing in this small-town 3-man scramble tournament. Graeme really is one of the nicest guys we've ever known, and we had such a great time! Taking an Irish man to the deep south was classic fish-out-of-water comedy.
First, there were our friends, Katie and Lauren, who joined the weekend of fun. Upon learning that Graeme is the #1 college golfer, they dedicate Nelly's "Number One" to him, and for the entire weekend would shout the chorus in unison every time Graeme walked into the room, which happened no less than 50 times:
"I. Am. Number One! Two is not a winner, and three, nobody remembers!"
Graeme really didn't know what to do with these girls. Or with all of this attention.
Steve's nickname for people who act like goobers and knuckleheads is "mullet". In case it isn't obvious, it's because people with mullets are morons. Graeme had heard Steve use the term "mullet" many times, often directed at him, but he didn't really know what it meant until we took him to The Office, a nightlife hotspot in neighboring Enterprise, Alabama. We almost didn't make it to The Office at all, because Graeme tried to go out wearing a pink button down shirt and a necklace.
Steve (trying unsuccessfully to hold back the laughter): Oh, no, Grammer. I can't let you go out wearing that.
Graeme (defensive): What's wrong with this? It's a nice shirt.
Me: It's a very nice shirt, Graeme. Very...European. Just trust us, you do not want to wear that shirt out here. And I'm gonna need you to lose the necklace.
Steve: It is a nice shirt...a nice shirt to get your ass kicked in. I wasn't planning on beating up rednecks tonight, and if you wear that shirt, I'm gonna have to.
Me (waving my hands): And I'm trying to get in with a fake I.D. Blending in is of the utmost importance!
[2 hours later in The Office, blinded by cigarette smoke and surrounded by good ol' mullet-headed country boys]
Steve: Aren't you glad we didn't let you wear your necklace and pink shirt?
Graeme: Yes. I see what you mean...and don't ever call me a "mullet" again.