Mysterious Origins Exposed At Last
By: Iva Tufshot, Investigative Reporter
WOLLA WOLLA BING BONG, AUSTRALIA, Nov 4, 2003 – Many believe claims of a “secret weapon” by American Captain-for-now Donut Dow mean nothing more than his self-inflicted all-iron play – a risky strategy at best on the long Myrtle links – while others think it mere bluster from the Yank, a sadly transparent attempt to get past last year’s disastrous ‘donut’ performance in Ireland. But this reporter’s investigation has found a deeper – and far more sinister – meaning.
We began by carefully examining differences in Dow’s play the past two years. Surprisingly, we found the quality of his play was not dramatically different. Although he averaged 2.5 strokes more per round in Ireland, that was a fairly average increase for the group on the tougher Irish links. His clubs were the same so why was he such a pathetic loser in 2002, unable to collect a single match point?
Stumbling across a picture of him taken during the 2001 Cup, I was immediately struck by a major difference in his appearance – a very distinctive hat. A bit of digging revealed that this was an Akubra hat, made for the Australian Outback and so prodigious that he had to leave it home in 2002, fearful that in Ireland a wind gust might lift him clear off the ground a la The Flying Nun.
Over the years, many people have laughed at The Hat, especially Team England players who disdainfully refer to it as a “daft hat”. But where, exactly, does The Hat come from and is there something more significant here than just a hat. It has been a mystery – until now.
DAFT HAT INVESTIGATION
As the Daft Hat investigation unfolded, I was surprised to find myself sucked into a past so fascinating that it ended up leading me on a 10,000 mile odyssey to discover its origins . . . and its power. A secret no longer, the story of the Daft Hat is guaranteed to send chills up the spines of all but the most craven England supporters, hitting their psyche where it hurts most – England’s sordid and brutal history of colonialism and subjugation of native peoples.
The story began in early summer, 2001. Alone in Australia on business, Dow decided to do some sightseeing in the Outback. As often tragically happens when stupid people blithely wander into that vast, barren wilderness, he got lost. Things got so bad, in fact, that he began preparing himself to die, gathering himself into a ball as dingoes yipped in the gathering dusk and vultures circled overhead.
Mustering the last bit of his ebbing strength, Dow was in the process of scrawling one final note in the hardscrabble earth to his mother, saying “the dingoes ate your baby”, when, out of nowhere, he appeared; a small, withered man who was clearly not your typical throw another shrimp on the barbie, Sheila-loving Aussie. Dow correctly assumed he was an Aborigine, one of the ancient, native peoples whose tribes had lived in harmony with the land for thousands upon thousands of years. Either way, helpless and near death, Dow found himself being carried to a nearby tribal village where, over several weeks, he was nursed back to health.
It was during a restless night, dreaming of the approaching Flem Cup, when Dow began talking in his sleep. The only word recognizable to the Aborigines was “Anglanders” – Englanders. Now the Aborigines hate the English with the white-hot intensity of slightly more than ten thousand suns due to the fact that England sent its worst convicts and prisoners to the Aboriginal homeland to rape, pillage and subjugate the indigenous peoples, a favorite hobby of the Brits back in the day. Assuming Dow English, the tribe decided to do what they did with all Englanders who wander into the outback – smear him with honey and stake him to an ant hill.
As fate would have it, though, a small item fell out of Dow’s pocket as he was being staked down – an American flag pin given to him by his friend, Terry Neal. Recognizing the flag, they realized Dow was, in fact, American. Having heard legendary stories of a mighty race of people who had, against all odds, driven the stinking English from their own soil, the Aborigines released Dow with profound apologies. To honor him, they quickly organized a wild 3-night celebration of tribal dancing and drunken debauchery, culminating in unbridled consumption of s’mores and rum punch around the campfire. By the time Dow was teaching them American drinking games like quarters, he was an honorary member of the tribe.
After several moons, Dow knew it was time to leave because, well, the Chief told him that it was time to leave. Before that sad day, however, the tribe wanted to throw him a big going away bar-b-que with lots of food and giant Foster’s wolla-wolla-billa-beer-bongs. Sitting at the table of Chieftain Mereelly Haitum Limeez, the two were downing Fosters like the brewery was closing when talk turned to golf, a favorite pastime of the Chief. When Dow described the Flem Cup and the upcoming match against Team “Anglaise”, the Chief’s eyes lit up and he immediately signaled for his warriors to bring the American a great gift – the Daft Hat.
As Dow gazed in wonder upon the Daft Hat, Chief Mereelly Haitum Limeez explained that it was no ordinary hat. The soft, brushed covering was made from only the finest selected short hairs of Englishmen who had carelessly wandered into the outback and died or been killed in tribal uprisings over the years. Started by the great Chief Killall da Limeez many moons ago, tribal craftsmen could only work on the Daft Hat one night a year: the wild celebration commemorating a great victory called, The Day We Took A Crapload of English Short-Hairs.
In order to invoke the most powerful magic, the Chief explained, the ceremony must coincide with “The first full moon after the fall harvest . . . when the Dingoes run with the Koala Bears . . . and the Kangaroo watches the Crocodile eat the Brown Snake . . . the magic . . . it will come.”
The evidence has shown that these conditions indeed make for powerful magic. Only the Daft Hat could have been responsible for the miraculous recovery shots that defeated Team England Captain Jennings time and time again in 2001. Stunned by those defeats, for two years Jennings has struggled to comprehend how in heaven’s name those shots were even pulled off, especially after witnessing Dow’s “unaided” talent level in Ireland. With this new evidence, can there be any doubt left where those shots came from? Aboriginal magic.
But before giving Dow the Daft Hat, Chief Mereelly Haitum Limeez warned him that the Daft Hat was not quite complete; that it needed a few more English shorthairs. If Dow took it with him in 2001, it would only have a portion of its full power. Feeling he needed it anyway, Dow took it and achieved solid results individually but the Yanks lost. Following that defeat, Dow returned the Daft Hat and asked Chief Mereelly Haitum Limeez to complete it for the 2003 Cup.
Three weeks ago, Dow received a Fed Ex delivery that included a very nice note from the Chief (he’s such a nice man). It was the Daft Hat – completely finished.
So when Dow is standing, head-down, he may well be examining his shoes (and wondering how he could have let them get so dirty), but it is far more likely that he is seeking spiritual connection – through the Daft Hat – with the great Aborigine Chief Mereelly Haitum Limeez, asking for deliverance of the ‘Anglaise’ by the short hairs.
END OF “DAFT HAT” REPORT
In other news, it seems that despite November 6th being travel day, several TUS players reportedly are going to make the trip easier by leaving Nov 5th. That contrasts with Team England’s travel schedule of leaving early Thursday morning, having an extended layover in Charlotte, NC and only arriving in Myrtle Beach 9 hours before the first tee-time. Odds in Vegas and London have dropped to even money and in some parlors the Americans are even a (very) slight favorite. Three days remain until the first ball will be struck for the 2003 Flem Cup, the weather looks fantastic and the players appear ready.