One of my favorite go-rounds with the Scrambler begins with the 2009 British Open championship. The ridiculous putt from Cink, the huge bounce on Watson’s approach to #72, the miserable par attempt, the rest…stuff for weeping. Then, the magic of one week from July happened in 2011 and I smiled a “thank you. debt repaid” to the gods of golf.
Darren Clarke, a golfer nearly my age, who had lost his wife to that horror, cancer, five years before, won the British Open in novelesque fashion. This was the repayment I did not know I sought, but it was more than enough to loose the bonds that tied me to Watson’s near miracle, two years prior.
The Scrambler was not so quick to forgive. He does not despise Cink, but rather that the victory was stolen from Watson at the age of 59 years, an age when neither women nor men are permitted to compete with their juniors, yet Watson did, and nearly triumphed.
As 2011 patiently extinguishes, I ask myself, which golfers are owed major titles by the gods of golf. I don’t immediately rush to the triumvirate of Brits: Monty, Lee and Luke. None of them is the type of sentimental figure that Watson and Clarke represented. No one ever liked Monty, Lee is better, but still not sentimental, and Luke works too hard at his fitness and game to be anyone’s sympathetic figure. I discard Sergio, as his rebirth to me is a sign of his final arrival at maturity. The terrible infant for so many years, Garcia might finally “get it” and arrive at a place to realize the predictions so many had made, so long ago.
I even thought back to players from my youth: Ed Sneed, Mike Donald And T.C. Chen. At this juncture, these fellows have been away from high-level competitive golf for so long that a victory for them would be the opportunity to compete in senior professional golf.
Tiger Woods? Brought it on himself. Greg Norman? Ditto. Even the great Severiano was denied the opportunity to live, the greatest triumph of all.
It occurs to me that perhaps I don’t his name at all, but I sure know his type. Maybe he’s a goofy-looking, Ichabod Crane-type in glasses, like Mike Reid. Perhaps, he’s shorter and balder than most, like Bob May. Possibly, he’s chubby with ratty hair, like Jason Dufner. There’s a chance that a non-golf accident will derail, or has derailed his career, like Len Mattiace.
If Lucas Glover, Michael Campbell, Mark Brooks, Mike Weir and others can have their week…if John Daly can somehow beat the odds and have two of them! Can one guy, in 2012, remind us why he more than any other male golfer on this planet, was finally paid back by the gods of golf? I hope so.