Monday, June 18, 2007

Long Shots, Long Balls, Real Balls, and Championship Golf

Golf's not my game and I haven't played since I was about sixteen but when you've got a guy like Angel Cabrera winning the U.S. Open over more likely champions like Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, you've got to pay your respects. All week long I'd been hearing from a friend I have who plays lots of golf how tough the Oakmont course in Pennyslvania is. Even the top pros were way north of "par" most of the time and there were even a few diatribes leveled against the U.S. Open authorities for having designed such a course. Par fives were made into par fours and the fairways were narrowed while the roughs were deep enough to attract nesting birds and other wildlife. From a picture I saw in the newspapers, it looked a bit like the Serengeti.

The quote of the week has to come from winner Angel "the Duck" Cabrera, the chain-smokingArgentinian bullpup who quit elementary school to support his family through golf:

"There are some people who have psychologists, sportologists. I smoke," said Cabrera.

I wonder if the golf commentators noticed a similarity between Cabrera and professional boxing's Ricardo Mayorga, often depicted before fights with a can of beer in one hand and cigarette in the other. Neither was ever supposed to win, and both of them walked off with championships which, if they do nothing else in their lives, puts them into the pantheon of sports immortals. Hey, you expect Tiger and Jim Furyk to win. But the Mayorgas and the Cabreras of the world are what makes the rest of us think that if we want it badly enough, we can win big at least one time.

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