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Saturday, 5 September 2015

Golf Can Be a Four-Letter Word

Some days golf is just a four-letter word.  You walk a fine line in this game.  You can be rolling along, not a care in the world, and suddenly it's gone.

I went on a trip to Mont Tremblant, Quebec for a few days with a couple of buddies.  We played some of the prettiest, and scariest, mountain courses I've ever played.  I also played some of the lousiest golf I've ever played.  Thank goodness I wasn't silly enough to let my play ruin a great experience.  Mont Tremblant is absolutely beautiful, as are many of its courses.

On the first hole on the Manitou course, a highly ranked short course which features replicas of some of the world's great holes, I cold-shanked a five iron off the tee, and made a double.  Not only did I shank a ball on one, I continued hacking and slashing my way to being nine over par after four holes.  I mean, I'm no Jordan Spieth, but nine over after four holes?  I was in a bad way.

Steve and Brian, though somewhat bewildered by my play, were obviously happy to find themselves four up after four.  I was playing their best ball, and they clearly found it quite amusing that anyone who hit it like I was doing would have had the nerve to play against two other players' best ball.  They certainly had a point.

Because it is a short course, we played from the tips.  That being the case, Manitou might have been short, but it was not exactly easy.  In any event, I actually recovered enough, going two over the rest of the way, to actually win the match.  That is why I love match play; a double, or a triple, just means one lost hole. Brian, however, couldn't help smiling on the last hole as he sunk about an eight footer to beat me by a stroke.  

Those first four holes it was as though I'd never played the game before.  I stood over the ball and hadn't the foggiest notion about what I was doing.  My mind was a complete blank.  Actually, it wasn't completely blank; my head was actually spinning, and I feared even taking the club back.  It was very unnerving.  Steve could only commiserate with me and tell me that now I knew just how he's been feeling lately.

The rest of the week was much the same.  I hit it every which way.  I tried everything I knew to try and struggled pretty much in vain.  Whatever I may have had once was gone.  The only plus to the week, besides the magnificent scenery and good company, was that I actually found something and went two under par for my last five holes at Le Diable on our final round. At least I could finish the trip on a positive note.

It seems with golf--for most of us at least--you never quite own your game, you merely rent it.  Look at Jordan Spieth; who is at the top of the game and suddenly misses two cuts in a row, losing to Jason Day over the two days at the Deutsche Bank by twelve shots.  Who would have believed it?  I'd like to tell Jordan I know how he feels, but I guess I really don't.  I could at least play like a bum with only Steve and Brian to witness it.  Jordan had to struggle with the whole world looking on.

There will now be all the questions asked about Jordan Spieth.  Some people will say he's finished; or that he's just a flash in the pan.  I suspect, however, that he will soon recover and come charging back.  And, even if he never does, he's accomplished more in two years--hell he's accomplished more in one year--than most golfers, including professional golfers, will ever accomplish.  

As for me, I was never really that good anyway.  But, those last five holes at Le Diable have me thinking I just might have found something.  After all, I'm like most every golfer; I'll cling to any ray of hope.  I can't wait to tee it up tomorrow on my home course.  I'm not going to remember all the terrible golf I played for those five days in that heavenly place.  I'm going to remember those last five holes, where I was two under.  I really think I might just have found something.  

As for Jordan Spieth; he's perhaps got some things to think about, and some regrouping to do.  But, he's the current Masters champion.  He's the US Open champ as well.  I don't think he needs to hang his head.  He's a champion.