Monday, April 9, 2012

We've all got a swing.














Years ago I traveled with an Army buddy almost three hours or about 150 miles

away from our base in Hinesville to near by Augusta.

I was excited about being able to go see two of my favorite golfers in the same venue.

I played a little golf back then, I even owned a set of Sam Sneads.

My two favorite golfers were Lee Treviño, (who was born in Dallas, Texas),

and a guy by the name of Seve (Severiano) Ballesteros from Spain

(who sadly passed away last May).

They were both playing at the Masters, THE MASTERS!,

at the Augusta National Golf Club.

We had been to the beach at Hilton Head on numerous occasions, but this time

a good friend (a light bird) or Lt. Colonel had tickets to the course.

They both came close to winning - well at least Steve did, if I remember Lee

trailed behind most of that humid Sunday afternoon.

I have always loved Lee's wit and exuberance, and his larger then life character.

An entertaining golfer who was quoted at one point as saying,

"The two things that don't last, are pros putting for bogey and dogs chasin' cars."

The Merry Mex they called him, a golfer who could unnerve his competitors

with his nonstop chatter and jokes.

He was a fan favorite, and had an uncanny ability to focus, putt really well, tell jokes,

relax, and then refocus as he made his way around the eighteen holes.

But this evening's blog isn't about Lee or Steve or Tom Watson or Jack Nicklaus 

who also got glimpse of that day.

It was a German golfer by the last name of Langer who came from behind,

and won the Masters along with about $126K in prize monies. 

Not a lot in comparison to the cool 1.4 million that Bubba Watson won yesterday.

Gerry Lester "Bubba" Watson Jr. is unique, a young thirty two year old lefty,

with a pink driver, and a great story of never having taken a formal golf lesson.

I didn't watch his key shot on the second extra hole.

Anyone who is into golf (my son for one), has not stopped talking about it.

It's the one where he hit a shot off of loose dirt and pine straw, through

an opening in the pine trees, then curved it more than 40 yards to the 10th

green from over 150 yards away shot!

Bubba is a different kind of golfer, one even a non golfer like me wouldn't

hesitate to follow.

He and his wife adopted a one month old baby boy Caleb two weeks ago

after a long four year adoption process.

And last night I watched a rerun as he embraced his mother, shoulders shivering,

and with tears flowing down his face, as he sobbed.

Juxtapose at the reserved reputation of the Augusta National, where its members’ jackets

are pristine and solid green, and the people very properly coiffed.

This guy's driver like his favorite color is pink (in memory of his father who he

lost to cancer in 2010) and his PING G20 pink colored driver really stand out.

Stands out in a very different and down to earth way… his longish hair has got

a permanent golf visor bend.

He is someone who is as poised on the fairway as he is entertaining

in goofball trick-shot, and music videos.

I watched a couple early tonight on You Tube. 

I really wish I had seen him live.

Certainly not because of the Augusta National beautiful setting, it's favored cool restraint,

polite enthusiasm and full court decorum.

But to be able to take in the way that Bubba celebrated his win, with geniune emotion,

and willingness of "living" the moment of his accomplishment and then sharing that

personal celebration with his fans.

I read that six years ago, when he first met Ted Scott, his caddie,

he told him that he lived by a simple mantra: “If I’ve got a swing, I’ve got a shot.”

That and "If you dream it, you can do it."

Simple and clear.

He stayed true to himself on Sunday, showing a lot of guts and he kept the faith.

I read that as the two walked quietly down the 10th fairway he turned,

and told his caddie, “We were here already.”

Like a true champion, visualizing a similar shot on a different course.

Knowing what that moment would mean for them both,

Scott his caddie turned to Watson, and said,

“If you’ve got a swing, you’ve got a shot.”

We've all got a swing, and we will never know how far we can go

if we don't take that shot.

Make every shot matter, becasue it very well could.

Make it a great día!