By James Turnage
If you’ve ever played one round of golf, you understand how one really good shot can make your entire day. Besides, it’s the only game that is played surrounded by the beauty of nature.
I’m not able to play any more. My back and my knees are paying me back for the way I tortured them in my youth. But I love to watch tournaments, ever marveling at the talent of today’s players. Besides, whether it’s popular or not, I am a Tiger Woods fan.
Yesterday’s final round at the AT&T National in Bethesda, Maryland, was a beautiful thing to watch. The grounds crew has to get much of the credit. A severe storm came through the area Friday evening, destroying over forty old and gigantic trees. They removed enough of the carnage so that the tournament could be played on Saturday with a five hour delayed start. As a precaution, no fans or volunteers were allowed on the course for the third round.
Sunday’s final round had thousands of spectators, as usual, but was even larger because Saturday ticket holders were allowed to come to Sunday’s best, and a large number of them were following Tiger and Bo. At one time, there were six tied for the lead. Among them were Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott, Bo Van Pelt and Tiger Woods. On the back nine, Tiger and Bo broke away from the pack. They managed to gain a three stroke lead over the rest. It became a battle between two golfers playing in the same threesome.
On the 12th hole, Tiger hooked his ball to the left, where it landed below a tree. There was a slim chance he could drive the ball into the middle of the fairway, creating a short wedge shot to the green. Worse than being in the rough, his swing would most likely end up crashing into the trunk, damaging it, the nine iron, and possibly Tiger’s wrist, elbow and shoulder. Somehow he had the strength to smash the ball over 190 yards and onto the green. He never faltered after that miraculous shot, winning the tournament by two strokes. It was his third victory of the year, placing him at the top of the FedEx standings.
All the media hype, pro or con, about Tiger “being back” has no meaning in Sunday’s outcome. What I got to see, was one of the greatest golfer’s who has ever lived do whatever he needed to do to win. Even in one hundred degree heat, he never appeared to lose his incredible strength when it was most needed.
I was never a very good golfer, but I miss it. I’ll just have to sit in my recliner, watching every shot on my HD Television, and maybe sip a beer or two in my air conditioned home, not envying the sweat running down their faces.