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Saturday, August 3, 2013

These Guys Are Really Good

As I watch the PGA Tour's Bridgestone World Golf Championship event my thoughts are no different than any other week:  the Tour's slogan is correct, these guys are good.  The shot making is unparalleled and beyond comprehension for many "everyday" players.  Drives are consistently high, straight, and long.  Wedge shots are usually found within feet of the hole.  And those 6' putts that make the knees of a mere mortal quake with fear?  No big deal.  All of the shots that prove to 99% of golfers why we play the game for fun and enjoyment are executed effortlessly on the PGA Tour.

To reach the PGA Tour is indeed a dream come true for every player out there.  Each and every golfer on Tour has practiced endlessly throughout their entire lives to reach this level of play.  Thousands upon thousands of range balls have been hit and what seems like millions of putts have been rolled on the practice green.  The tireless practice combined with hours in the gym get them in the right position to excel on the golf course.  And for every player on Tour you can find hundreds more who work just as hard to try and displace those inside the magical top 125.

In today's round 3, Jason Dufner is hitting some amazing shots as he tries to get within striking distance of Tiger Woods.  Yesterday Tiger couldn't miss and wound up firing a 61!  Needless to say he hit plenty of jaw-dropping shots.  Yet as I continue watching these world-class athletes I cannot help but think that they are not hitting the best golf shots I have ever seen.  The people who play golf for a living are the best in the world, but I have seen better, more inspirational golf shots elsewhere.

The same type of determination and dedication can be seen on the faces of the kids I work with every week at Ranken Jordan.  As I mentioned in the last post on this blog I saw the same type of determination from the kids at Mercy Children's Hospital in St. Louis while I was there last week.  For many of these wonderful kids taking just a few swings can be as challenging as making a downhill slider on the 72nd hole to win the Masters.  Slick greens, gusty wind, and/or long rough all contribute to making every Tour event difficult.  Last week I helped a young man once again pick up a golf club as he faced a "hazard" that could be considered more intimidating than the crashing waves to the left of the 18th at Pebble Beach.

I say "could be considered more intimidating" because at no point was this courageous 7 year old going to let the recent amputation of his left leg at the knee slow him down.  He and his family took a break from his therapy to join us for golf.  He rolled a few putts and made enough that I considered asking for a lesson.  Next he grabbed a wedge to hit some chip shots.  It came as no surprise that he knocked several right into the middle of the net he was using as his target.  And then he looked up and smiled as he asked if he could hit some drivers.  What happened?  You would be correct if you guessed he started hitting driver after driver dead straight.  Before leaving for the day he made it clear how much fun he had . . . and that after seeing what he was able to do he was definitely going to continue playing golf when he left the hospital.

When I go back through the blog posts I find myself reading a lot of similar material.  However none of it seems repetitive or redundant to me.  As the author of this blog I understand that my opinion is biased.  But what I enjoy is going back and reading the many stories that have been told of the young men and women who continue to inspire me on a daily basis.  They are fighting and battling through medically complex issues that no child should ever have to endure.  Yet they find themselves in those situations and they go through every day with a smile on their faces.  Yes the guys on the PGA Tour are good; however these kids are really good.

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