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Inside the Ropes

Posted by: Mitch Juricich

Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 2:31 PM

As the Forty-Niners and Giants battled during a five-hole “Whiskey Run” shoot-out for charity, there were obviously a few highlights and anecdotes.   

*Emcee Brian Murphy, from the KNBR morning show, almost forgot to introduce his boyhood hero, Will Clark!  Once introduced and ready to tee off, Clark, who was teed off by the gaffe, said (during mid swing) “Y’all don’t have to be quiet for me,” as he smacked one about 275, right down the middle.

*Clark’s partner, Giants pitcher Matt Cain, bombed a tee shot on the first hole over the corner of the fairway that settled pin high near a greenside bunker.  From there, in the alternate shot format, Clark hit a beauty of a flop shot onto the green, ultimately leading the Giants winning the opening hole.

*After Cain reached the par 5 second hole with a 203 yard, 6 iron that sounded like a gunshot, Forty-Niner coach, Jim Harbaugh, went over feel Cain’s shoulder and biceps.  Was he thinking ‘strong safety’? 

*If it hasn’t been obvious to the reader thus far, Cain was the star of the shoot-out.  To say his drives are prodigious is to say Jennifer Lopez is kinda cute.  His tee shot on the par 4, third hole was about 40 yards from the green.  His launch on the par 5, 18th was rumored to have scrambled the bombers at NORAD!  It flew directly and over the two trees in the middle of the fairway then turned slightly left to end up less than 200 yards from the green!  Distance estimates ranged from 330-340 yards.  In almost 50 years of watching the AT&T this observer has never seen anyone hit tee shots like Cain.

*Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow continue to be rock stars with the fans.  Kuipe, even though on the DL, agreed to caddy for Kruk this year.  That employment opportunity lasted and estimated 83 yards before Kuipe bailed!  Meanwhile, no one since the great Payne Stewart has been able to rock the plus fours like Kruk.  It’s all he wears when he plays.  He even wore quite a pair to the Golf Writer’s Dinner at Spanish Bay, which had some believing that his room might be missing some curtains.  Kuipe was replaced on the Giant’s team by fellow play by play announcer, Dave Flemming, another fan favorite.  After a couple of days at the Inn at Spanish Bay, golf at Poppy Hills and Pebble Beach, Flemming was off to Spokane, Washington, Logan, Utah and Waco, Texas for basketball broadcasting duties.  Talk about culture shock.

*When the two teams reached the 17th tee, they were held up by a group that jumped ahead a few holes.  No problem though.  It was only Kenny G, Anthony Anderson and George Lopez.  Play away, guys.

*Statement of the obvious: Isn’t it funny how Alex Smith is now worshipped?  Win a few games, get invited to the AT&T.  Partnering with his coach, Smith can also make a golf ball travel farther than I go on picnics, often only mere yards behind Cain.  After his huge tee shot on 18, Harbaugh hit the team’s second shot to 18 which bounced off a corporate tent and back onto the course.  Harbaugh, in the midst of congratulatory “high fives” said, “Keep giving me high fives.  It makes it look like a good shot!”

*With about 2,500 adoring fans soaking up the frivolity, it was ended on the 18th with Niner great, Dwight Clark, sinking a tricky four footer to win after Cain’s five footer hit the back edge and jumped out.  Before Cain’s attempt that would have won the match, Clark was heard to say, “I almost hope he makes it so I don’t have to putt.”  When someone suggested his putt would be just like making “The Catch”, Clark retorted, “That time I knew what the hell I was doing!”

The Niners/Giants Tuesday shootout is the best thing added to this event in the last 25 years.  It is light, fun and a ton of laughs.  More importantly, the fans love it.  Bing would have loved it, too!

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