Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Beaten by a man with a broken leg...

I learned long ago that golf has a mind -- and a warped sense of humor -- of its own.

That's why an otherwise beautiful tee shot can stop in a divot, why your opponent's skulled 7-iron can skip across the water like Captain Sullenberger hit it and why kids want to dress like Rickie Fowler.

If you play, you understand. If you don't play, don't start. You'll have more fun piercing your tongue.

That brings me to my latest slapdown.

Playing in the Cedarwood club championship over the weekend, I got beat by a man with a broken leg.

Both days.

I know, Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open on a broken leg. He was playing the Barclays last weekend, I checked.

The only guy I beat got DQ'd because he signed an incorrect scorecard.

I think he's the only guy I beat. I wisely grabbed a beer after the round and didn't glance at the scoreboard or anyone else before slinking away, pretending I had somewhere to be -- and it wasn't the practice tee.

Let me make it clear that I have great admiration for the man who beat me on one good leg. He has a rod in his bad leg, parts of it have come loose and he now has a stress fracture in his thigh bone. When he makes a full swing and tweaks his leg the wrong way, it looks like it hurts worse than a Rosie O'Donnell monologue.

But he loves golf and keeps playing through it, kicking my butt in the process.

There's something inspiring about his willingness to keep playing but let's not make it about him. Let's talk about me.

I could tell you I was 1-over par through seven holes and facing an easy approach shot into the par-5 eighth green Sunday, thinking I might be able to backdoor my way into second place in the net division after another in a long history of poor starts in the club championship.

But then I'd have to tell you that three holes later I was 10-over par and relieved that both of my Titleists missed every vehicle moving on Highway 51 after my tee shots at the easy 10th hole turned right of Sean Hannity on their way off the property.

You might think that seeing a man with a broken leg grinding away would push me to keep grinding, too. You might be wrong.

A three-hole stretch of double-bogey, triple-bogey, quadruple-bogey kills your incentive. Let's see sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella put a happy face on that scorecard.

I finished and, after briefly considering donating my clubs to a nearby pond and bailing out of an October trip to Bandon Dunes, I wondered why I'd expected anything different. If nearly 50 years of playing golf have taught me anything, it's not to bet on myself when you have to putt 'em out.

My only regret?

I should have bought the man with the broken leg a beer.


Anonymous said...

"thinking I might be able to backdoor my way into second place in the net division after another in a long history of poor starts in the club championship.".......

is right where you lost it.

"one shot at a time" is an overused cliche because thinking ahead kills a good golf round

Anonymous said...

Hilarious. I can relate. I was once beaten in a club championship by a guy with a humerus that had been surgically shortened after tumor removal. Humbling. I just spent 5 days at Bandon Dunes... maybe the ferocious winds there will straighten out some of those slices. But probably not.