The late, great Lewis Grizzard is said to have been a determined and competitive golfer, though not necessarily a very good one.
His home course was the Ansley Golf Club in Atlanta, yet he played whenever and wherever he could. At some point, Lewis got invited to play in a celebrity charity golf tournament at the Harbor Club in Greensboro hosted by the late, great Mickey Mantle.
Lewis and Mickey became fast friends. Stories about their time together must wait for another column.
Wherever Lewis golfed, a certain amount of adult beverages and wagering usually resulted. The more over-served Lewis got, the bolder his wagers became.
It is safe to speculate that at least one or two readers of this column won some money off of Lewis on a golf course. If you are one of the unfortunate few who lost money to Lewis, he might say, “Well bless your heart.”
Many who knew Lewis understood that perhaps his top ambition in life was to become a member at Augusta National Golf Club. In my book, Lewis Grizzard: The Dawg That Did Not Hunt, I tell a version of this story as it was told to me that might not be entirely correct.
Lewis did not hang around with no chumps, and his friends are pretty masterful storytellers themselves. Lewis did not let facts get in the way of a good story, nor do I, and apparently neither do Lewis’s friends.
After my Grizzard book published in 2019, I found Lewis’s Newnan, Georgia artist and cartoonist friend David Boyd. Thrilled to find David, he confirmed that he drew this brilliant caricature of Lewis (pictured below). Brilliant is my word, not modest David’s word.
I have yet to meet David or his delightful wife Rosebud in person, though we have enjoyed several entertaining phone calls. When talking about Lewis and Augusta National, David began to tell a story I had already heard and published. David’s version is entirely believable, yet I will not call the guy who told me the first version a liar. I want him to remain my friend, and he likely just borrowed a story like Lewis often did.
Having been pranked more than a few times by Lewis, David decided to prank Lewis, as follows:
He ordered the most expensive parchment sold in America, that is used by the United States Mint to print currency. Augusta National uses that parchment, or so David said. If they sue, I want them to sue David, not me.
David mocked up convincing Augusta National letterhead and a convincing envelope. He drafted an invitation to be interviewed for Augusta National membership and had someone mail it with an Augusta postmark to an address where David would be with Lewis when the Post Office delivered it.
Upon opening the letter in David’s presence Lewis began to strut around the room waving that piece of paper. When he composed himself, Lewis told David, “You are about to be my former friend. I will soon have friends who are far better than you or my current friends.”
Lewis’s snide rant continued for as long as David could take it. Then David thought it prudent to let Lewis in on the prank. “Lewis, I printed that. You have not been invited to interview for Augusta National membership.”
After letting that soak in for a moment, Lewis gave David a steely cold stare with the comment, “I hope you one day live to have your heart broken the way you have just broken mine.” He then slammed the door on his way out and drove off in a huff.
Lewis had heart problems and occasional mood swings. David’s first concern was that the prank might trigger some cardiac incident. His second concern was that Lewis might do something rash.
About 20 to 30 minutes after Lewis departed, he returned and entered to greet David. Lewis was in all likelihood braced with a few potent adult beverages.
With only the trace of a sly grin, Lewis asked David: “You got any more of that letterhead?”
David indeed had more, and we are thus left to ponder how many of Lewis’s friends received invitations to interview for Augusta National membership.
Perhaps some readers of this column received one.
David was greatly relieved that his prank did not prove lethal to Lewis. Lewis asked what David would have done on the day he was invited to be interviewed.
David said, to paraphrase, “Well Lewis, a bunch of friends and I would be waiting near the security gate to take pictures of you getting your arse turned away or arrested.”
Lewis might say: “With friends like David Boyd who needs enemies.”
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Article by Peter Stoddard, caricature by David Boyd used by permission. Story published in the March-April 2022 issue of Lakelife magazine.