Monday, April 11, 2016

Things you hate to admit

By Michael Nettleton 

If you’re a lifelong hacker on the golf course, as I am, it’s time for an honesty check. 

When Jordan Spieth, mounting another superhuman effort to lead the Master’s tournament by five strokes with only nine holes to play, stepped up to the eleventh tee, no bookie on the face of the earth would have taken an even money bet he wouldn’t cruise to his second win in a row at Augusta. And then on number ten an errant tee shot and a bogie. Okay, okay, so pobody’s nerfect. And a missed save on number eleven and the lead is cut to three. Still, the kid’s a machine, he’ll right the ship. Probably make two or three birdies on the way back to the clubhouse. And then. . . 

 Number twelve, a picturesque and relatively short par three over a stream.


Splash again

Into the sand, out of the sand. Two putts. Mark a quadruple bogey seven on the score card and put him three shots back on the leader board to a British kid who sounds like he just stepped out of the cast of the road show version of Oliver. Superman became Clark Kent before our very eyes. 

To his credit, Spieth made a valiant run to stage a comeback and handled the post tournament dog and pony show with a modicum of grace.  Tough to do when your world has blown up in your face.  At 22, a class act, that kid. I personally, would have snapped every club in my bag over my knee. 

Here’s where the honesty check comes in. Wasn’t there a part of you, a small green monster of envy and spite who was jumping up in the air and shouting “Yesssssss!” when Spieth melted down?

Because, for all of us who’ve been there (repeatedly for us weekenders) there’s reassurance in knowing that even the best in the world—people who’ve been playing since infancy, taken hundreds of hours of lessons and have an innate athletic ability we can only dream about—can go gunnysack just like we do. 

So, for those of us who’ve taken four shots to get out of a sand trap followed by four putts, thrown a gutter ball when our team needed five pins to win against our arch rivals, let a pop fly drop in front of us on the softball field, said exactly the wrong thing to that guy or girl we wanted to impress or forgotten our lines at a crucial moment during the big community theater production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, we can feel Jordan’s pain. And we thank him for helping us feel a little less terminally inept than nature has made us.