Golf Ė The Game of Everyman


Most golfers have heard of John Daly.  Few would expect him to win again on the PGA Tour.  He did.


Most golfers have heard of Craig Parry.  Few would expect him to ever win on the PGA Tour.  He did.


Few golfers have heard of Todd Hamilton.  Few would expect him to ever win on the PGA Tour.  He did.


What other sport affords the opportunity for an individual player to achieve the seemingly impossible dream on his own hook, with no help from other players on the field?  In fact, all other players are the opponents, and not likely to make a willing contribution to anotherís victory.


My wife describes golf as being as boring as watching bugs crawl.  Sadly, her lack of regard for the sport has jaded her view.  One must have an introductory understanding of the sport to establish the slightest appreciation for it.  It is a game of individual challenge, defeat, and victory.


The PGA Tour has, in the last three weeks, given fans more reason to follow the sport than ever before.  Most fans like to share the warmth and exhilaration of a first tour win, particularly for some poor, bedeviled underdog. March has yielded abundantly for the seekers of underdog prevalence.



Case 1:


John Daly, a man with every reason to succumb to mediocrity, rose to the occasion to prevail at Torrey Pines.  Who would have thought it?


The model of Joe Sixpack, Daly claimed victory and re-established himself as a credible challenger on the Tour.  With the world on his shoulders, he pulled off the win.


Burdened by marital problems, financial problems, bad habits, and the synergistic coupling of those forces, Daly, the man, hides behind Daly, the golfer, while the latter seeks to pay the way of the former.  Youíve got to love a guy like this. 


Few would deny this man this moment.



Case 2:


Craig Parry came to the front in a most unlikely conclusion at Doral.  Although many probably wanted him to win, few would harbor any true confidence that he could pull it off.


He did.  Holing his second shot on the first playoff hole, Craig Parry leapt from the five-foot-six version of Popeye, to towering Champion.  A perfect shot, executed under imperfect conditions in the torrid heat of competition, is mythological in character.


Unlike the astounding Gene Sarazen double-eagle at the Masters, reported only in print and word of mouth, the miracle shot of Parry was viewed by millions around the world and in real time.  Not bad for a fellow who over-slept on Thursday, barely making his tee time wearing a mismatched array of hastily-adorned clothing.



Case 3:


After waiting in line at the coin laundry on Sunday morning, Todd Hamilton performed all his duties.  Taking the tee four shots out of the lead, he probably mused that he would like to win, but, being a thirty-eight-year-old touring veteran, he surely realized that such a victory would defy all odds.  He got the wash done in the morning, and he played his game in the afternoon.


Traveling with him, his wife and children pose a fitting portrait of family values, even though their presence brings to bear such chores as morning trips to the laundry for the golf professional. 


Hamilton toiled through the first sixteen holes much as he did with the baskets of soiled clothing.  There is no rushing the process in either case.  Time is ever constant, and what happens within the bounds of time is ever variable.  Golf was much like the laundry task; a dirty grind until just before the end, success began to emerge.


As the day wore on, Todd Hamilton strode to the seventeenth tee at four over par for the day, a shot behind Davis Love whose play was completed.  No birdies graced his card.  His play had been conservative and protective, yet he found his name prominently positioned on the leaderboard.


A gambler of some mettle once told me the only three holes that mattered were the last three.  Hamilton played those holes two under par.


The magic began with birdies at Seventeen and Eighteen, his only birdies of the day.  Todd Hamilton took victory, eclipsing the leader in the clubhouse, Davis Love. 


Exciting finishes are the fuel that bonds the fan to the sport.  To witness the victory of an unlikely champion warms the hearts of all who understand the game.  Moreover, when the dark horse prevails, it kindles the hopes of Everyman.


Please excuse me now.  Iíve got to take another look at my grip.