Being an avid golfer, Taylor Hicks enjoyed a few days in beautiful Palm Springs, California last week playing in the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament. Taylor’s Angels’ good friend, Pay the Devil, was fortunate enough to have attended this prestigious event and spent several days observing Taylor and his amazing impact on this Palm Springs community. She graciously offers her unique perspective on Taylor Hicks’ Blue Sky Holiday and shares that “no other celebrity received the amount of admiration and affection from the locals” as Taylor Hicks. Read and enjoy her first hand account, watch her exclusive video and feel the pride that surrounded Taylor last week in sunny California!
If you are a Taylor Hicks supporter/fan then over the last few weeks your Google Alerts inbox has been inundated with snarky comments from television pundits and people that sat too close to the television as children. Most comment on album sales and current television ratings, however many make personal attacks against Mr. Hicks.
I just don’t get it.
I watched every episode of American Idol Season Five. I watched each week in bars, hotels, and pubs across America. I saw it in Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles. I watched “In the Ghetto” in a small family-owned Vietnamese restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada.
“Hand to God” as my Pentecostal pastor aunt would say, at every stop Taylor had supporters. They didn’t refer to him by his last name, like some other contestants that season. He was always just “Taylor”.
If you read too many Google Alerts you begin to forget that “Taylor Hicks” is a television phenomenon. (For those of you camping at Area 51, I agree with you. It all can’t be a coincidence.) Taylor Hicks is a lightening rod for discussion and a true pop culture icon.
Consider these facts:
· In the last half hour of the finale of Season Five, 42.9 million people watched Taylor take the prize (Hollywood Reporter).
· The Season Five, 59-date cross-country tour was 2006’s 12th largest in box office gross, pulling in $35.2 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. Nearly 650,000 fans attended, filling 96% of available seats.
While the naysayers would suggest that the other eleven contestants had something to do with these successes, I would just add that the ratings went up after the other contestants left the show and Taylor garnered more air time.
Did I mention I was Taylor Hicks fan?
Needing a blue sky holiday, I headed over to Palm Springs last week to watch Taylor play in the Bob Hope Classic. After being admonished to wear sensible shoes and carry sunscreen, I headed out to links to catch some good golf and to do some serious celebrity watching. I was not disappointed.
Jimmy Fallon, George Lopez, Luke Wilson, Alice Cooper, and Meatloaf were just a few of the celebrities playing in the five-day tournament. While each celebrity team had their own trailing fans, it was Taylor that brought Palm Spring’s wealthiest out of their million dollar condos that lined the courses in hopes of getting an autograph. On the 6th Hole at PGA West, a doyenne of Palm Springs society was hosting a cocktail party on her patio that overlooked the course. When Taylor’s team started to tee-up, she and a server from her own patio party ran to the yellow ropes in hopes of getting a better look at Taylor. Both women, ages 20 and 65 blushed bright red when Taylor came over to the rope and signed their programs. I saw this scene repeated many times. A group of men representing the Ohio State Alumni Organization begged for a photograph and a ten year veteran of the tournament said she had never asked for an autograph before, but she would be honored if Taylor would sign a picture taken from last year. If this happened once or twice, most fans would beam with pride. The fact that there were public displays of adoration at EVERY hole and even afterwards while the golfers were turning in their score cards, was amazing. I was confounded and prideful that seemingly everyone in Palm Springs wanted to adopt Taylor Hicks or at least invite him in to have a drink and dinner. No other celebrity received this amount of admiration and affection from the locals, which are usually jaded (another Hand to Heaven moment). When you are used to seeing Arnold Palmer and US Presidents walking in your backyard, your skin gets a little thick.
So how was he you asked? What struck me immediately was Taylor’s light-hearted affability. He strode across the links like a 12 year-old boy with a pocket full of money headed to the candy store. His loose gait and relaxed demeanor provided a bit of an insight into Taylor away from the stage. He seemed to appreciate the fact that he was playing on some of the best courses in the country. He joked with everyone and was supportive of his other teammates. Gone was the weariness that eight months of touring brings. Unguarded and happy would best describe his disposition.
Cameras are expressly forbidden by the PGA unless you carry press credentials. One tournament marshal told someone standing next to me that she was breaking PGA law by taking a picture. I wanted to shout back, “So write her a PGA ticket”. I made the video below using images which I clandestinely captured, coupled with images that someone took using my camera and others from my friend Ken. Please enjoy the video and I hope you remember to do something today that makes you happy.
“I've always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn't have a chance to win.” Arnold Palmer
Written by Pay the Devil
Published by : Tina Shaddix
Pictures and video by Pay the Devil
Taylor's Angels offers our heartfelt thanks to Pay the Devil for sharing this uplifting account, complete with pictures and video, of Taylor's Blue Sky Holiday! We sincerely hope that you enjoyed her unique and often humerous insight!