Silver lining

by Al Pastor

 

LET ME GENTLY LAY OUT A PLEASING PROSPECT TO THE UNFORTUNATE LATEST SURGERY FOR THE SPECTACULAR GOLFER OF THE RECENT PAST.
THERE’S AN AWARD THAT ELDRICK TIGER WOODS WOULD NEVER HAVE CONSIDERED, AND NEVER HAVE HOPED TO WIN. BUT LET ME JUST THROW OUT SOME NAMES THAT SHOULD CATCH HIS ATTENTION: CHARLIE OWENS, CASEY MARTIN, LEE TREVINO, CALVIN PETE, KEN VENTURI, TOM WATSON.
THOSE ARE SOME OF THE PAST WINNERS, LET’S CALL THEM CHAMPONS, JUST A HANDFUL ON THE LIST OF AN AWARD THAT NO GOLFER WOULD HAVE IN THEIR SIGHTS. HERE’S ONE OTHER NAME THAT EVERY GOLFER WOULD WANT TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH: BEN HOGAN.

EACH YEAR THE GOLF SCRIBES GIVE THE BEN HOGAN AWARD: “TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS CONTINUED TO BE ACTIVE IN GOLF DESPITE A PHYSICAL HANDICAP OR SERIOUS ILLNESS.”

A PINCHED NERVE IS NOT BEING HIT BY A BUS. I DON’T MEAN TO IMPLY THAT. COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR IS A MORE RECOGNIZABLE AWARD. WOODS MAY VERY WELL WIN IT. HE MAY NEVER HAVE HEARD OF THE BEN HOGAN AWARD. JACK NICKLAUS’S RECORD WAS ALWAYS ON THE HORIZON, A DANGEROUS, SPECIOUS BENCHMARK, FOR ALL ONE CAN ASK IS TO COMPETE AND WIN AGAINST THE PLAYERS IN THE FIELD. COMPARISON WITH PAST IMMORTALS IS TILTING AT WINDMILLS. FOR A GOLFER SO COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE, PERHAPS THE TIME CONTEMPLATING AND WEIGHING HIS LATEST RECOVERY WILL BE PUT TO GOOD USE IN TAKING THE LONG VIEW.

HE MAY NOW CONSIDER THE MORE IMPORTANT GOALS. THERE IS AT LEAST ONE MEANINGFUL RECORD OUT THERE, PERHAPS ONE HE NEVER CONSIDERED. HIS NAME CAN GO ON THE LIST, ALONGSIDE THOSE WHO HAVE BATTLED AS SERIOUS AND MUCH DEBILITATING INJURIES AND INFIRMITIES: JIM NELFORD, JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL, LINDA CRAFT, JEFF JULIAN – AND EVEN, FUNNY HOW LIFE GOES – FUZZY ZOELLER. AND, FOR THE RECORD, WHILE I NEVER THOUGHT HE WOULD BREAK JACK’S RECORD, THOUGH WISHED HIM WELL, NOT THAT IT MATTERED, I HOPE HE WINS THE BEN HOGAN AWARD, FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.

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