On a hot streak
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Today, dweller, we ponder the eternal riddle: From whence derives the enormous comedy of nudity?

The issue is germane because The Cooler was parked at Olympia Fields all week, and the topics by the close of business on Sunday night were:

1) Jim Furyk's first major championship.

Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk celebrates after being approached by a topless woman -- and winning the U.S. Open.
2) Tiger Woods' fourth consecutive major without a win.

3) A topless babe who crashed the 11th green.

In inverse order, we might add.

The appearance by the chesty maiden shocked Furyk, and caused us to dwell on just what exactly it is about the Nude Sporting Event Appearance that takes on such epic hues.

I figure it breaks down like this:

  • If the nudity comes in the form of a female, the male sports fan dissects the actual appearance of the nudity. Was she built? Were they real?
  • If the nudity comes in the form of a male -- as in, at seemingly any British sporting event -- the male sports fan dissects the pure comedy of it all.
  • There is no study of the anatomy.

    Repeat: There is no study of the anatomy.

    (Excepting, of course, The Cooler's favorite streaker moment, the stray nude who crashed the '99 A's-Red Sox game down the September stretch and caused our favorite ballplayer, Jason Giambi, to break the sepulchral silence of the post-loss A's locker room by evaluating the streaker's attributes and tan. But Giambi can get away with that. And yes, we've rehashed that story at The Cooler many times, but it remains an alltime favorite: "The dude had a sweet tan," Giambi said. "He's definitely been dropping some tokens in the booth." He also gave a scouting report, an impressed one, on other aspects, but the issue is getting away from us.)

    Anyway, what is it about the streaker that causes such titillation?

    This issue, of course, was explored by the comic genius of Will Ferrell in "Old School," in his now-famous scene of total inebriation at the house party. Ferrell's blood alcohol level reaches a point where his only instinct is to shout to the masses: "Hey, everybody, let's go STREAKING!" The ensuing visuals prove the comedic weight. There is something so intrinsically funny about a naked man wearing running shoes, it defies description. The running shoes make the streaker. A barefoot streaker at a sporting event cannot create half the comedy of a streaker wearing running shoes. A barefoot streaker looks too much like Steve Prefontaine doing a pre-dawn jog on an Oregon beach. A streaker in running shoes is just plain going for laughs.

    The woman at Olympia Fields was promoting an online betting agency, an agency that also crashed the French Open this year. Nice double dip for the online agency -- Roland Garros and Olympia Fields. Of course, if they trot out a streaker at the British Open -- guaranteed, by the way -- we could be on the road to the Streaking Grand Slam.

    Old School
    Will Ferrell would be proud to know he helped define nude comedy.
    The French Open streaker's run revived an underrated aspect of the streak -- and that is The Chase. When a nude man in running shoes dodges security -- and he only has to put a couple of shake moves, we're talking just 20 seconds of daylight -- it's a scream. Like watching a guy chase a hat that blows off in the wind, and keeps blowing just out of his reach when he gets there.

    We won't even discuss the concept of the raincoat-wearing flasher, and his contribution to nude comedy.

    So, to sum up. the nudity on the 11th green at Olympia Fields conjured up plenty of Cooler chat.

    What, you wanted a fairways-and-greens analysis of Furyk's win?

    We'll take nudity and laughs any day over that.

    Onward, then, to the Weekend List of Five, starting with -- who else ...

    1. Jim Furyk
    I guess the word is that Jim Furyk is not a sexy winner of a golf major.

    That is, if you're a stiff who has no appreciation for subtlety, grace and the power a hat can have in changing a man's look.

    Furyk plays golf the way Tony Gwynn hit baseballs: Short on power, long on mastery.

    It just so happens that his hairline forms a perfect horseshoe.

    And yes, that fact can oft-times cloud the observer's eye, and override his ability to pound fairways and greens with the regularity of the tax man. In fact, I was greenside on 18 when he made the walk of his life, up to the green, a U.S. Open champion and when he doffed his cap, I could only shout out: "Leave the hat on! Leave the hat on!"

    Then again, he's U.S. Open champ. I've got a full head of hair, and a golf handicap that approaches the legal drinking age.

    And how about that hat? Strata hats now feature a logo on the side that includes a deck of cards, ace of spades on top. It's some promotional gimmick for some product I'm not quite sure of.

    As Furyk trudged up the third fairway on Sunday, my boy Mikey pondered: "How much more epic would Furyk's hat be if the deck of cards instead featured Iraq's 55 Most Wanted? You know, Chemical Ali on the side of the hat when you win the U.S. Open? That would be strong, to quite strong."

    2. Fluff: keeps on truckin'
    So who's Furyk's caddie for the big win? That's right. Fluff Cowan: The Looper Who Got Canned by Tiger.

    Fluff Cowan
    "I'll take my cut in Visine and Doritos please."
    So, yeah. Like Fluff didn't tear the roof off the house on Sunday night. As we know of his fondness for the Grateful Dead, we can only imagine the celebration. Put it this way: We know how Jerry Garcia would have celebrated, and it now requires a written note from your doctor in California.

    Sweet revenge, man! Tiger gets blitzed by the media for not winning a major in four tries; Fluff, meanwhile, loops for Furyk in a win on such cruise control, he could have worn an Ipod with headphones blasting "Workingman's Dead" on loop for the entire back nine.

    If Furyk got a little quick with the tempo, Fluff could bark out: "Casey Jones/You'd better/watch your speed."

    3. Tiger: What gives?
    So, you want to be Tiger Woods. That means you get: a) untold riches; b) babe-a-licious girlfriends; c) sporting immortality; and d) a media on you like an incurable hemorrhoid.

    Poor Tiger. He's played eight events this year, won three, and is just getting drilled by our nation's finest scribes for his failure to win a fourth consecutive major.

    God forbid we were all held to such standards.

    You go to work, you give your best, your monthly report maybe wasn't as profitable as the last month, and when you head out to get the bus home, there's a pack of poorly-dressed scribes with mustard stains on their press passes barking out from the sidewalk:

    "Are you in a slump?"

    "Have your co-workers passed you by?"

    "Is your cubicle laptop inferior equipment?"

    Meanwhile, you've got 18 Employee of the Month awards for the past 24 months, and you are dusting the field in total sales like Ricky Roma dusted the office in "Glengarry Glen Ross."

    And all Tiger is getting right now from the media? A set of steak knives.

    (Please, tell me, dwellers, you are "Glengarry Glen Ross"-savvy.)

    People. We must chill. Breathe into the brown paper bag. Tiger Woods is OK.

    That is, unless he doesn't win the British Open.

    Then we'll really start ripping him.

    4. The Spurs: It's your world, San Antonio
    Might one argue that the San Antonio Spurs are the Jim Furyk of the NBA?

    Tim Duncan, David Robinson
    The wild Spurs take the title. Punch and cookies for everyone!
    Or is it vice versa?

    Tiger wins last year; so do the Lakers.

    Furyk wins this year; so do the Spurs.

    Tiger titillates, excites and wows; so do the Lakers.

    Furyk grinds, does everything right, and wins; so do the Spurs.

    Tiger and the Lakers get network-bonanza TV ratings.

    Furyk and the Spurs get WB-rerun ratings.

    What does this say about our nation?

    You know, I'm not quite sure. Furyk and the Spurs have dulled the sharp edges of my brain to the point where I'm out of material.

    Thanks a lot, stiffs.

    5. Baseball brawls: the real deal
    This weekend featured some quality fisticuffs on our nation's diamonds. For too long, the baseball "brawl" has been as pugilistic as a pillow fight between Elton John and George Michael.

    Then, we got blitzed by high-level encounters in a hurry. At Cincy, Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal made one of the great open-field tackles on enormous Reds slugger Adam Dunn. The irony was thick that in the very town where the NFL franchise has spent the past decade missing tackles, Lieberthal executed perhaps the best takedown the Queen City has seen since the NCAA came after Bob Huggins.

    Not to mix bleed three different sports into one bad metaphor or anything.

    Still, what a tackle! Dunn goes about 6-foot-6, and he was wearing metal spikes. If I'm Mike Lieberthal, I find a convenient excuse to avoid the ankle-wrap tackle. Philly fans should canonize this kid for his brass ones; if ever a town could appreciate insanity masquerading as grit, it's the City of Brotherly Love.

    Then, we double up and get the Devil Rays-Pirates brawl, featuring Jason Kendall and Marlon Anderson, a dustup featuring more real contact and venom than your average pro wrestling tilt.

    Tensions running high in the national pastime ... what gives?

    While I enjoy a good donnybrook as much as the next, perhaps baseball needs a pre-All Star Break relaxation vibe.

    Anybody got Morganna's cell phone number?

    Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.



    Brian Murphy Archive

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    Murphy: Going, going ... boring

    Murphy: Raising a Tiger

    Murphy: Fandemonium

    Murphy: Life imitating art

    Murphy: Masters of our domain

    Murphy: Somebody has to lose

    Murphy: Welcome to Cooler Day!

    Murphy: Spring is in the air

    Murphy: Here's to Ew

    Murphy: A barren wasteland

    Murphy: Tiger gets his Phil

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