"You got to be kidding me," said Deacon Jones, letting loose with a rumbling laugh. "You think I'm crazy enough to tell you that ?"
Settled in a parked golf cart on a sun-baked patch of grass at the Links at Monarch Beach, Jones was laughing--and balking--at the simple question: What's your handicap?
"I can't tell you that, because you'd write it down, and what if I lied a little?" joked the pro football Hall of Famer. "Listen, people talk about going out to relax and play golf. I play golf, but I don't know about relaxing--this game is work."
It was all work and plenty of play Monday at the Links, where 120 golfers gathered for a celebrity golf classic and tennis tournament benefiting the Orange County chapter of High Priority, a national women's networking group devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer.
The competitions were part of a two-day fund-raising drive that included a Sunday night buffet at the Ritz-Carlton hotel (a chip shot from the Links) and a post-athletics banquet and awards show, also at the Ritz-Carlton.
The events--ranging in price from $50 per person for the Sunday buffet to $250 per person for the whole shebang--were expected to raise $25,000, said event chairwoman Sharon Paisley.
Among sports superstars checking in with golf chairwoman Betty Belden-Palmer was Raiders' quarterback Jay Schroeder, who said he and his wife, Debbie, took up golf last year.
"I can't hit as far as he can," said petite Debbie, gazing up at her husband, "so I try to get him on the par 3s."
Peter Ueberroth--who with his wife, Ginny, was honorary chairman of the first High Priority golf classic three years ago--teed off with his father-in-law, Nick Nicolaus, and son-in-law Bill Booth.
"My father taught Peter how to play," Ginny said, "and now Peter's teaching Bill. So I guess we've got a family tradition going here, don't we?" Ginny scooted back home instead of playing this year to spend time with daughter Vicki and grandchild Nicholas Booth.
For Richard Agnew, a Newport Beach obstetrician, the day of blue sky and treacherous greens provided "a great excuse to get out of the office."
For former baseball great Don Sutton, "Golf is like therapy."
"If you do well on the course," said the self-described golfaholic, "you pat yourself on the back. If you do badly, you kick yourself a little lower down."
George and Judie Argyros were named honorary co-chairmen of the benefit. Among committee members were Olivia Johnson, Charlene Immell, Claire Burt, Pepper Stone, Jeanne Lorti, Ledge Hale, and Wanda Cobb, who founded the local chapter of High Priority.