Seeing Höddi’s camera, some stop us to deliver quotes: “I came to enjoy the culture and the game itself” says John Poppy, a Heineken beer distributor from Phoenix. Never mind that all I asked him was where I can find Shannon Elizabeth. Never mind that he is speaking so slowly and loudly that he must suspect me of being Icelandic, hard of hearing, and possessing sizable learning disorders. His buddies all say “Bullshit, you came for the women.” “Yeah you came for the chicks.” But he looks at me with a mock sincerity as though his quote was somehow a deep answer.
Poppy’s fat friend Bubba from New Orleans takes me aside and says “This island’s great. You need to get more Americans here.”
Höddi and I grab some Heinekens and donuts from a golf cart driven by two teenage Icelandic girls whose job it is to provide refreshment to the American men, but who are doing their best to avoid them.
Who´s Tanya Roberts?
We give up talking to the American men and only now talk to the Icelanders working the course. The problem: they don’t know who the celebrities are. Adam, a fourteen-year-old who has been assigned the task of standing on an especially windswept rock and waving flags when the balls go out of bounds, eventually fills us in. The old one, he says, is on hole five. He hasn’t seen any young woman.
Finally, we find our celebrity. A celebrity. We find Tanya Roberts, the hot mom from That 70´s Show. She is nice, and she is freakishly attractive. She is also very, very small. A golf ball takes up her entire hand.
She says the same thing she said on RUV the night before: “I really want to see Gullfoss and the geyser, but we haven’t gotten there yet.” In the same tone she goes on and says, “I hate getting stuck in lava.”
She poses for Höddi. She then prepares to drive, Höddi standing directly in her peripheral vision, distracting her by snapping away at his camera. She lobs a drive into the rocks about thirty yards away.
“Where is the alcohol?,” she says. “We’ve been waiting for the beer all afternoon.”
We don’t find Shannon Elizabeth. The tournament, which boasted that contestants would “Golf at midnight” started at 2pm, and the organizers have all left by 3:30. Instead of midnight golf, the itinerary for the evening includes a ten-bar pub crawl. Included in the Icelandic pub crawl, two Irish pubs and quite a few seedy bars which must have only been chosen because they served Amstel.
Better than Shannon Elizabeth, we find an American marketing expert.
Iceland is the next Myrtle Beach.
“It doesn’t matter that the wind is bad and nobody golfs here. This is the whole Myrtle Beach experience. It’s a guys trip. Strip clubs, women, beer. It’s a location,” says the marketing expert when I ask why 160 golfers were deposited in a suburban Icelandic golf course.
“There’s a guy out there named Bubba,” I say.
“Really? Bubba. That’s great,” she says and writes it down in a notebook. “That’s what’s great about this kind of event. This is the new face of golf. These are guys who buy clothes off the clearance rack. They won’t pay for a nice shirt, but they will come out to Iceland.”
“Do you have a name for this type of person?” She has been so specific, there must be textbooks about these guys.
“Average American golf consumer,” she says.
I pointed out to my marketing friend that Iceland is expensive, that there are very few strip clubs, that it is a literary and artistic community. She shrugged off my answer. There were 160 guys here who didn’t have a clue about Icelandic culture, and they were extremely content.
If the ugly Americans are coming to Iceland, coming to golf into incredible headwinds in extremely temperamental weather on courses full of rocks, well, it may not do much for American stereotyping, but it will probably be good on Icelanders’ egos. And it’s possible it won’t really hurt anyone.
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