It was an accident, but Jim Fuchs discovered the secret of golf years ago when he was married.
The secret of playing his best golf, that is.
You might not want to try it, but it worked for him. You can decide if it might work for you, too.
Let’s go back to September 2000, when Fuchs and his buddy, Mike, were qualifying for the SCGA Four-Ball Championship, a two-man team event. Jim rolled in a curling 35-foot birdie putt on the first hole and then drained a 25-footer for birdie on No. 2.
“As we were walking to the third tee, one of the other players (kiddingly) asked what I’d had for breakfast,” Fuchs recalled. “I told him I’d had an argument with my wife.”
“He said that if that were him, he probably wouldn’t be able to play (very well),” Fuchs went on “I told him the difference was that he probably cared. I didn’t care.”
Now let’s fast-forward to May 2003. Jim, Mike, Mike’s father and another friend named John were going to tee it up in a men’s guest day at PGA West in La Quinta. It’s Jim’s favorite single-day golf event every year, even though he has to get up about 4:30 a.m. to drive out to the course in the desert.
“The night before, I’m about ready to go to bed when my wife tells me she wants to have a discussion,” Fuchs said.
Most of us know what that means, and it isn’t good. An hour later, the “discussion” ends without a resolution.
“She tells me to leave the room so she can get ready for bed,” Fuchs said. “I come back 10 minutes later and the bedroom door is locked.”
Uh-oh. Most of us know what that means, too.
Jim knocks on the door and asks his wife to let him in. She says no. Jim informs her that he needs to get up very early in the morning, but she says she’ll wake him.
“I was just about ready to bust down the door when I noticed the screws for the lock were on my side,” Fuchs said. “So I went to the garage and got a screwdriver and took the doorknob off.
“Then I got in bed and she started pushing/kicking me with her feet and hitting me with her pillow,” he said. “I thought back to the Four-Ball qualifier and wondered what special thing might happen during golf the next day.”
To dispense with the suspense, Fuchs had his first hole-in-one the next day – a 9-iron on the par-3 third hole on the Palmer Private course that landed about eight feet past the pin and trickled back down the slope and disappeared into the cup.
Special thing, indeed.
Fuchs also shot 67 that day, despite hitting a ball in the water on the par-5 18th, and won all his bets. At lunch afterward, he told his buddies what had happened the night before, and they all laughed.
“The next Saturday, we were going out of town to play,” Fuchs said. “I was talking to Mike on Friday evening to try to coordinate the driving. He said John wanted to know if I’d had an argument with my wife the previous day before he would make a bet.
“I laughed so hard, I had tears in my eyes.”
This went on four a couple of years, even after Jim and his wife split up and eventually divorced. Someone always wanted to know if Jim had an argument with his wife before bets were made.
And now you know why Fuchs — an avid golfer, certified public accountant and Santa Ana resident — was chosen as this week’s guest prognosticator.
Fuchs still carries a 2 handicap – he’s a men’s club member at El Dorado in Long Beach and Tijeras Creek in Rancho Santa Margarita – so you might want to experiment to see if the method to his madness works for you, too. But, of course, I’m not endorsing it. (Wink-wink.)
For the record, Jim wants to make it clear that he has been happily dating the same woman for several years, and she supports his passion for chasing the dimpled white spheroid, so no more arguments.
Fuchs is originally from Indiana, graduated in 1975 from Indiana University, where he got to watch Bobby Knight’s basketball teams up close, and grew up rooting for the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals. He moved to Southern California in 1980 and began crunching numbers.
These days, he would much rather be out on the golf course on Sundays than watching NFL games.
Sounds like a perfect guest prognosticator.
Ready or not, it’s time for this week’s NFL predictions, with a lot of golf balls on the line, as always.
Here are my picks and comments, noting the three games on which Fuchs and I disagree:
Denver Broncos (9-3) at Oakland Raiders (3-9): Broncos. Will Denver have a letdown after already clinching the AFC West? Not with Peyton Manning calling the signals. Broncos have won seven in a row and Raiders have lost five in a row.
San Diego Chargers (4-8) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5): Steelers. Does Norv Turner still have a job, after his team blew a fourth-quarter lead for the fourth time last week against Bengals? Amazing. Steelers are back in the wild-card hunt, just in time for Ben Roethlisberger to return.
Miami Dolphins (5-7) at San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1): 49ers. I still can’t figure out how the Niners are 0-1-1 against Rams and 8-2 against everyone else. Not that I can figure out the Dolphins from week to week, either.
New York Jets (5-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10): Jets. (Fuchs picked Jaguars as his Upset of the Week. ) Was also tempted to go for the upset after Jets’ 7-6 home squeaker over Cardinals last week, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Rex Ryan is probably wondering if it actually matters who starts at quarterback.
Baltimore Ravens (9-3) at Washington Redskins (6-6): Redskins. Robert Griffin III for president! Ravens have been struggling in recent weeks, so they no longer look like a legitimate AFC contender.
Dallas Cowboys (6-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-5): Bengals. All I know is Cowboys struggle against good and bad teams, so I’m going with Bengals, winners of four straight.
St. Louis Rams (5-6-1) at Buffalo Bills (5-7): Rams. (Fuchs picked Bills.) It’s always dangerous to pick the Rams to win a road game, any road game, but I’m impressed by their defense.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6): Buccaneers. Last-place Eagles have lost eight in a row. Enough said.
Atlanta Falcons (11-1) at Carolina Panthers (3-9): Falcons. Some people are predicting that the high-flying Falcons could be vulnerable to an upset, but Carolina always finds a way to lose at the end.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-10) at Cleveland Browns (4-8): Browns. Don’t look now, but Browns have won two in a row! Has that happened previously in this century?
Tennessee Titans (4-8) at Indianapolis Colts (8-4): Colts. So what if Andrew Luck makes rookie mistakes every week; he also makes All-Pro plays every week, like his game-winning touchdown pass on fourth down on the last play in Detroit.
Chicago Bears (8-4) at Minnesota Vikings (6-6): Bears. OK, I’m not confident in this pick, but you have to humor me because I’m a Bears and Cubs fan. And Adrian Peterson always scares me.
Arizona Cardinals (4-8) at Seattle Seahawks (7-5): Seahawks. Seattle finally won a road game against a quality opponent (i.e., Bears) last week, so there’s no reason to think the Seahawks will stumble at home against a team that is 0-8 since a 4-0 start.
New Orleans Saints (5-7) at New York Giants (7-5): Giants. G-Men have lost their once-commanding division lead, so they need to bounce back from one-point loss against Redskins. Besides, Drew Brees doesn’t look like himself.
Detroit Lions (4-8) at Green Bay Packers (8-4): Packers. Lions find a new and painful way to lose every week. Call Jim Schwartz the Marquis de Sod. And look who’s back on top of the NFC North – Aaron Rodgers and the Pack.
Houston Texans (11-1) at New England Patriots (9-3): Texans. My Upset of the Week. (Fuchs picked Patriots). Could this be a preview of the AFC Championship Game? Very possible. Truthfully, I don’t think Texans are as good as their record, but I love to pick against Bill Beli-cheat, even if his team has won seven in a row.
Last week: David Hill, Karsten Solheim “acquaintance,” 10-6; So-Called Expert 11-5.
Season totals: Guest prognosticators 113-78-1; SCE 119-72-1.
Football Pool and Golf Ball Challenge winner: Shawn Barrett 13-3.