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Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren at the winner's award ceremony at the Presidents Cup golf compeititon in this Oct. 11, 2009 file photo at Harding Park Golf course in San Francisco, California. (ROBYN BECK/ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods and his wife Elin Nordegren at the winner's award ceremony at the Presidents Cup golf compeititon in this Oct. 11, 2009 file photo at Harding Park Golf course in San Francisco, California. (ROBYN BECK/ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Road Sage

Golf clubs: weapons of glass destruction Add to ...

What is it with golf clubs and windshields?

Did windshields do something to golf clubs in another life? Is there some age-old grudge that five-irons have against windshields? Did a windshield have it off with a golf club's girlfriend when the golf club was out of town at a conference? Did a windshield borrow a golf club's favorite mug and break it?

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How else can we explain the inexplicably high rate of golf-club-on-windshield violence, especially assaults which involve a celebrity, near celebrity or celebrity spouse?

A little over a week ago, for instance, it was reported that golf god Tiger Woods had driven his black Cadillac SUV into a fire hydrant and a neighbour's tree and that his wife had freed him from inside the vehicle by smashing in the SUV's rear window. Speculation swirled about the motive and context, but the fact remained that once again a golf club had done harm to a windshield. It was far from the first time.

In 2007, it was reported that Goodfellas actor Joe Pesci brandished a golf club and threatened friends of British singer Robbie Williams who had blocked his driveway saying "Which one of you motherf****** blocked my drive? If you don't move in 30 seconds I'm going to smash your windscreen."

In 2002, former Manchester United soccer star Paddy Crerand (author of the memoir Never Turn the Other Cheek) was accused of applying a golf club to a motorist with whom he'd disagreed.

In 1997, British comedian Eddie Large took a golf club to his neighbour's Range Rover.

Perhaps most infamously, in 1994, en route back from a police fundraiser, actor Jack Nicholson used a golf club to smash up the Mercedes he felt had cut him off.

It's not just the famous who are likely to cry "fore" and double bogey someone and/or their automobile. The list of civilian golf-club-to-windscreen altercations is too long to list. Suffice it to say it includes everything from pitched battles to clubs and balls being hurled at motorists.

It is hard to explain why the golf club is the go-to weapon of choice for road ragers. Golf is not a contact sport. It's a game whose players like to be portrayed as affluent, restrained and mellow. It's the sport of business tycoons and politicians, stoic warriors who pit their skill against the fairway. They make deals on the putting green, lose millions and laugh and drink vodka on the rocks at the ninth hole and then make all their money back by the eighteenth.

In fact, there are many athletic contests - baseball, fencing, cricket, canoeing, hockey, skiing, lacrosse, squash, tennis, billiards, bowling, horseshoes and croquet - which employ equipment that would make ideal weapons of glass destruction. A cricket bat practically screams out "Come on old chap! Strike me against a windscreen!" Hell, cars come equipped with tire irons, which are ideal for smashing in windshields but, no, when Ronnie Road Rage leaps from his vehicle he invariably has a three-wood at the ready.

Of course, that may be the point. There is no pastime more likely to create a feeling of suppressed fury and self loathing than golf. It is to anger what sunlight is to plants. Think of it: you've just hit 67 over par and paid $500 in greens fees for the privilege and then some dude in a Grand Caravan cuts you off. What better way to seek revenge than to use your golf club (which caused you to golf badly anyway) to damage the automobile of your antagonist? It's a win/win or, more accurately, a bend/break.

So what's the best golf club to use when cracking a windshield? Some favour the stick they least favour. Nicholson told Golf Digest that, in the midst of his golf rage, "I reached into my trunk and specifically selected a club I never used on the course: my two-iron." An actor prepares - to cave in a windscreen.

What can those in the other car do? The bottom line is if you see a driver (especially a celebrity) with a bag of golf clubs in the back seat, keep your mouth shut, your hand off the horn and try not to make eye contact. Car plus golf club equals shattered glass. A celebrity behind the wheel with a golf club is a smashed windshield in embryo.

When it comes to automobiles, a golfer is just an angry driver who is looking to hit a hole in one.

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