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Bluff The Listener

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Bim Adewunmi, Paula Poundstone and Amy Dickinson. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Tom Papa.



Thanks, Bill. This is very exciting. It's time for WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on air.

Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.





WARD: My name is Mike. I'm from Warwick, R.I.

PAPA: Nice to see you, Mike - or hear you in delay, Mike.


WARD: Yes.

PAPA: Thanks for being here, Mike. How's Rhode Island these days?

WARD: It is nice but a little bit colder now.

PAPA: And what do you do there in Rhode Island?

WARD: I work in front of a computer.

PAPA: Ooh.

WARD: I...


WARD: I do online education for children in China. I do English.

PAPA: Wow.

AMY DICKINSON: Oh, that's cool.

PAPA: Yes. It's lots of fun.

WARD: So do you - but you don't have a very strong Rhode Island (imitating Rhode Island accent) Warwick accent.

WARD: No, I'm not from (Imitating Rhode Island accent) Warwick originally...


WARD: But...

DICKINSON: Because you could really teach them some stuff. You know what I'm saying?


PAPA: It's nice to have you with us, Michael.

WARD: Thank you.

PAPA: You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. What's the topic, Bill?


PAPA: No, Bill's not saying how many millions of dollars he makes per word.


PAPA: He's making a reference to golf, the worst sport in the world.


PAPA: This week, we heard about a way golf got even worse. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, and you'll win our prize - the WAIT WAIT-er of your choice on your voicemail. First up, it's Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Viewers' interest in golf is declining for a variety of reasons. Watching golf is like watching a rich guy fill out his tax forms. Well, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is finally bringing some excitement to golf. The number one complaint that we get is that golf is not a sport - it's a game, says event executive vice president John Outland (ph) - which really couldn't be more true. Golf, up until now, he's been basically a man, a stick, a ball and some grass navigating a midlife crisis.


POUNDSTONE: We here at Pebble Beach are introducing defense into golf.


POUNDSTONE: Here's how it works. The rules for the player hitting the ball remain the same. But during his turn, his opponent is free to use all means necessary to stop him from sending the ball down the fairway.


POUNDSTONE: One way this can be done is by what's called spotting - that is, following the trajectory of the ball, running to where the defensive player anticipates it will drop, catching it and throwing it back at the opponent.


POUNDSTONE: The defensive player can also block the offensive player, which is harder because the offensive player has a club.


POUNDSTONE: Certain psychological forms of distraction and intimidation are also admissible strategies in the game of golf at Pebble Beach, such as the defensive player taking out their phone and threatening to cancel their opponent's dinner reservation...


POUNDSTONE: ...Or to enlist the sommelier to make an inappropriate wine pairing...


POUNDSTONE: ...Or simply to call the Securities and Exchange Commission.


PAPA: That's defense from Paul Poundstone. Your next story...


PAPA: Your next story of a long walk spoiled, spoiled again comes from Amy Dickinson.

DICKINSON: Everybody already knows that golf is the worst game in the world. Literally the only thing the game of golf has going for it is that sometimes the little white ball doesn't roll into the little hole. The ball not going into the hole is what lends the game its suspense and occasional outbursts of rage.


DICKINSON: And now technology is going to ruin golf even more because Nissan, the car people, claimed to have invented a golf ball that goes into the hole no matter what.


DICKINSON: You can chip it off the green using a cricket bat, and the ball will go in. You can drive it off the tee using a curling iron, and it will go in. Nissan released a video showing a really cute 4-year-old kid demonstrating this ball-going-in technology after getting a hole-in-one no matter where he put the ball. Even this pre-kindergartner looked more bored than Tiger Woods on a dating hiatus.


PAPA: That's the Nissan ball that always goes in the hole from Amy Dickinson. Your last story of bad news for old men who like to swing clubs comes from Bim Adewunmi.

BIM ADEWUNMI: We all know that sport needs to engage younger audiences in order to stay relevant. Think about Serena and Venus Williams firing up a new generation of tennis players. But youth is not the only way to modernize sport. Sometimes, the landscape itself must change. For golf, that means doing away with the lush, green grass of the fairway and ushering in the age of asphalt.



ADEWUNMI: Yes, you've heard of mini-golf. Now prepare yourself for city golf. Scott Fenech (ph), CEO of City Golf International, says, golf has pretty much conquered the suburbs. Now it's time for us to take to the city. His company provides golfers with clubs, balls and maps that turn cities into golf courses, teeing off from locations as diverse as a supermarket, your nail salon, the bus stop and the freezer case of the bodega.


ADEWUNMI: And who needs a literal water hazard when there's that stagnant pool of water on your office building's roof?


ADEWUNMI: Sure, there are problems, Fenech says. So far, golfers in our pilot city, Queens, have broken 82 windows.


ADEWUNMI: I should mention that the company launched just three days ago.


ADEWUNMI: He added, we are still working on the insurance part. Challenges aside, city golf is bringing the sport to new audiences. Traditional golf with its terrible clothes and elitist clubs is over, says Fenech, and the players love it. Said one city golfer, I saw my city in a whole new way. And the sound it made when I banged it off that guy's window unit air conditioner was awesome.


PAPA: OK, Michael. You've got defense from Paula, the ball that always goes in the hole by Amy and city golf from Bim. Which one is real?

WARD: I'm going to go with the self-driving ball.

PAPA: OK, Mike. Your choice is Amy's story. Well, to find out the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with the true story.


ZAC PALMER: The ball has a sensor on it, and it will keep on going until it gets into the hole.


PAPA: That was Zac Palmer, an editor at Autoblog talking about the self-driving golf ball. Congratulations, Michael. You got it right.


WARD: Thank you.

PAPA: You earned a point for Amy Dickinson, and you won our prize - the voice of anyone from our show on your voicemail.

WARD: Oh, yikes.


PAPA: Sorry to scare you. Thanks for calling, and thanks for playing. Congratulations.

WARD: Goodbye. Thank you, everybody.




THE COASTERS: (Singing) Keep on rolling. Keep on rolling. Keep on rolling. Keep on rolling. Keep on rolling. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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