Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Dear Tiger…

Published

on

Dear Tiger,

Earlier today, I heard the news you withdrew from the Northern Trust with a muscle strain. I hope that as you head home, you get some rest and feel better soon. I can imagine you’re probably disappointed in having to leave the tournament, but at the end of the day, feeling your best is way more important than trying to prove something that doesn’t need to be proven.

Speaking of proving things, don’t listen to the armchair doctors (unless your actual doctor is sitting in an armchair). Don’t worry about how the golf talking heads of the world will react. Don’t feel pressured to return early because of the Playoffs or the Presidents Cup. Do what you have to do on your timeline, to get to 100 percent—or as close as someone with as many back surgeries can be to 100 percent.

Growing up, I never missed watching a tournament you played in, and as an adult, my habits haven’t changed much. As much as I and others want to see you play every week, I realize that it’s just not possible. The travel, the walking, and workouts, the range time, they all take a toll that we, as regular golfers, will never truly understand.  I still remember only a few short years ago when you said you might never play again, and I was heartbroken. Not because I selfishly wanted to see you play, but because I hoped that current 10-year-old kids would have the chance to watch you in competition. Obviously, that wasn’t how the story ended, and I’m grateful as a golf fan for that.

When you drained the winning putt, walked off the 18th green at the Masters this year, and hugged your kids—just as your father hugged you—the golf world stood still. Golf fans once again appreciated what they had witnessed—a Tiger Woods major victory. Although not quite the same experience, it was pretty cool to be able to sit there with my wife and our child, just like my parents did with me in 1997.

As a 43-year-old guy with two kids, you have a lot of gas left in your tank – not for golf, maybe, but for actual life. Regardless of if we don’t see you make a swing for another month—or ever again in front of a camera—I just hope you get healthy. You have done so much for golf, professional golf, and even more for others thanks to your TGR Foundation—you have nothing left to prove to anyone.

Golf will go on and people will live their lives. My hope is the same as it was back in 2017 when it looked like you might never tee it up in competition again: you and your family you get to enjoy a healthy life.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 848
  • LEGIT59
  • WOW41
  • LOL16
  • IDHT8
  • FLOP17
  • OB8
  • SHANK178

Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

52 Comments

52 Comments

  1. Jay

    Aug 22, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Hahahaha is this a love letter? This is so weird.

  2. The Dudeness

    Aug 17, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Serious Question; How can you write a letter like that about someone who is not part of your family,, if you dont live at my address,,, sorry!

  3. Niggy

    Aug 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Hookers & Blow

  4. AndIEvenLikeTiger

    Aug 15, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Sycophantic drivel.

  5. The Dudeness

    Aug 13, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Dear readers
    If your a parent and Tiger Woods is your child’s “Role Model” you have failed as a parent. A role model is some one you have an interaction with on a personal basis, not entertainers who you helped become rich and who will never be a part of your life.A role model is not someone who has affairs and then is arrested while driving under the influence of narcotics. And no, none of my role models are entertainers.

  6. The Dudeness

    Aug 13, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    Are comments censored on this site?

  7. Mad-Mex

    Aug 13, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Dear Golfers
    I read the comments in fascination from what I can only assume are grown me calling Tiger Woods a role model. If your a parent and Tiger Woods is your child’s role model, you have failed as a parent. A child’s role model should be someone he/she has a physical interaction with, a parent, a teacher a relative, my role model is my step-father who worked an average of 2 jobs weekly and at time also on weekends to give me a better life when we first came to this country from Mexico. Reading how people defend a multi-millionaire entertainer, who owes his wealth to them , as if he was a family member is astonishing!

  8. Mad-Mex

    Aug 12, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Dear Reader
    I cannot understand how ANYONE considers an entertainer (i.e sports player,movie star, musician a “role model” or “hero” since that “role model” will never have a face to face interaction with you.
    If your a father and an entertainer is your kids “role model” you have some parenting failures in your bag. If your not a father and YOUR father or someone your PERSONALLY know is not your “role model” you have problems.
    Sorry if I don’t lavish Tiger Woods with praise, but he , like thousands of other entertainers, became millionaires with the money of the people who payed to see them perform.
    In case you care or wonder, my role model was my stepfather who worked his ass off in two jobs when we came to this country so I could have a better life than he did.

  9. Sean Crappity

    Aug 12, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Thannnnnnks for the memories! Lol!

  10. MW

    Aug 12, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Tiger should not be considered for any Ryder Cup or President Cup team for this very reason. I’m not sure he even would especially based on his play in the last Ryder cup and his age, but give the spots to those who are much healthier. At this point it’s hard not to think that the back issues are an easy out when he is playing bad.

  11. Salmonoid

    Aug 11, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    All you Tiger haters, two facts: 1) if you’re on tour and in the top 120, you’re a multimillionaire. He brought big purses to to game. 2) his record! Who’s on pace to beat his record? What say you?

    • Jamie

      Aug 12, 2019 at 12:17 am

      Oops. You played the hater card. Autofail. Big purses in the era of money printed from thin air and corporate bailout welfare? Big deal. What record? Nicklaus didn’t waste his 30s and still has the record.

    • JThunder

      Aug 14, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      So, you’re saying money and wins are all that count in a person? I don’t think anyone is disputing his record or his ridiculous bank account. His behavior on and off the course, and his very public personal choices are another matter. And, NO, you can’t have one without the other. You want a private life in the modern world, then don’t become rich or famous!

      • Pro Tip..

        Aug 16, 2019 at 12:36 pm

        I just came to laugh at all the tiger haters lol, you guys are silly and have no idea. “There are so many more people to talk about” Blah Blah Blah. They did the same thing for Jack until the end and will most defiantly do it with Tiger. Keep on hating chaps! You make me happy, its fun to read the moronic comments of you haters lol.

  12. Dustin Bush

    Aug 11, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Beautifully written, so warm, true love within those words!

  13. Joseph Ortep

    Aug 10, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    OMG… wth.. Togger who??? Good bye and good riddance… you people really need a life. He has the worst attitude in sports today…

  14. Jamie

    Aug 10, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Tiger has made golf journalism very boring and shallow. And those are who he has brought into the game: the boring and shallow types.

  15. R

    Aug 10, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Good rid

  16. Rascal

    Aug 10, 2019 at 12:56 am

    I hope Tiger has a nice retirement so that the dumbbells constantly whining about Tiger coverage all find something more productive to do with their vitriol.

    One can hope.

    • JThunder

      Aug 15, 2019 at 11:45 pm

      Absolutely, because consumers should have NO SAY in what they’re force-fed by the media!

  17. Matt

    Aug 9, 2019 at 10:18 pm

    Well done. He has changed the game. We all want to see that greatness again. That is why TV covers Tiger. Ratings and ratings pay the bills. Get well Tiger, I want to see you play at Whistling Straits in 2020.

  18. Jeremy

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Well written Ryan. Could not agree more.
    Thank you

  19. NoTalentLefty

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Actually I think a healthy Tiger is still good for golf BUT he’s not healthy and the ones who called it are ostracized. Chamblee may not be PC but he was right on Tiger. When Tiger looked like he was back he knew it by observation. The players may hate him but he speaks as he sees it We need that kind of objective eye reporting on golf.

  20. JThunder

    Aug 9, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    There are better role models for 10-year-old kids to watch. Great golfers who don’t string together 10 expletives with every bad shot, or cheat on their wife (and kids’ mother) with 300 women.

    • Alex Taylor

      Aug 10, 2019 at 6:58 am

      Couldn’t agree more. I continue to be amazed at how many people fawn over Tiger. Just about the worst possible role model.

      • David Burlett

        Aug 11, 2019 at 1:24 pm

        And we all know you had a perfect life! Your just a hater, period!

        • Alex Taylor

          Aug 13, 2019 at 8:05 am

          Well, I’m not a hater but I do hate it when people are unable to use proper grammar…..”Your just a hater, period!”…..Really??? Try this next time: “You’re just a hater, period!” People whill taik yew moor ceereslee wen yoo yeus guud grammer.

        • JThunder

          Aug 14, 2019 at 12:15 pm

          Leading a “perfect life” is not a prerequisite for what I wrote. Nor would I expect it of Tiger. I did manage to divorce my wife without cheating on her with 300 women (not even one woman)… and I haven’t frequently yelled string of expletives with thousands or more kids watching me.

          With his great stature and ludicrous income come some responsibility. With promises made to his (ex) wife and implied to his children come some responsibility. As I said, simply, “there are better role models”.

          Yes, his golf talent is one of the greatest the game has seen. There are many, many other great players in good health worthy of watching. Golf will survive his departure just as it did Tom Morris, Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, et al. And some future generation will see records broken again. (Assuming the world survives).

    • Chris Leadbetter

      Aug 10, 2019 at 7:52 am

      And I bet you voted for our President

      • Alex Taylor

        Aug 10, 2019 at 9:38 am

        Nope……nice try.

      • Cody

        Aug 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm

        I voted for this pres. And will miss tiger…

      • JThunder

        Aug 14, 2019 at 12:10 pm

        I hope you don’t mean me, as I most absolutely, certainly, vehemently did not.

    • Scott Bangerter

      Aug 10, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      Stop thinking athletes should be counted as “moral” role models. They are just as human as anyone else; and as such have failings. Tiger is and always will be a GOLF role model. Tenacious. Dedicated to his craft. Unrelenting. Intimidating. And at the end of the day (read career) will have accomplished more than most could ever dream of. Broke more records. Held world number for most number of weeks consecutively and cumulatively. And, ultimately transformed the game more than any other golfer during his or any other generation. *drops mic*

    • Shaun

      Aug 11, 2019 at 2:17 am

      So your a famous celebrity with super models trying to get that notch . I’ve never cheated but I can solely say it would be damn hard as the most famous athlete on the planet for 20 years

    • Mike

      Aug 11, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Wow, still holding on to that? It’s been 10+ years ago. Enlighten us, how did Tiger’s philandering personally affect you to the point where you’re still ‘hating’? I didn’t like the Tiger ‘person’ back then but he’s been humbled so much that exactly what in his lifestyle now is “wrong”? He’s a single dad w/ back issues trying to get out & play golf. Sounds like millions of other guys. And regarding ‘role models for kids’, I’m my kid’s ‘role model'(as every dad s/b).

      • JThunder

        Aug 15, 2019 at 11:52 pm

        Enlighten me; why do I have to like Tiger? Because *you* do? Because the golf media insists that I do? Am I not allowed to like and dislike what I choose? What if I disagree that he is “humble” now?

        Yes, “sound like millions of other guys”, expect that the entire sports world has elevated his status to hero, role model, legend, “Greatest of All Time”. AND, the entire sports world has financially compensated him for this status and worship FAR, FAR beyond any reasonable amount for smacking a golf ball.

        “I’m my kid’s role model”. A lot of dads think that. I wonder how many are correct? I hope you indeed are – moreover, I hope you’re worthy of it! I’d be willing to bet, unless you keep them locked in the basement, that they have other heroes and role models. If one is Tiger, I hope they know the difference between his work ethic and his dating ethics.

    • Sean

      Aug 11, 2019 at 11:11 am

      Tiger was the role model for most of these role models you speak of…

    • Brandon H

      Aug 12, 2019 at 8:40 am

      So should we all stop idolizing Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as well? While we’re at it, should we try and dig up all the dirt on all of our favorite players in every sport? People idolize him for his golf ability and philanthropy, not because of what he did/does in his personal life. He failed as a spouse, but by all accounts, he has been a great Dad. He is the GOAT for a reason.

      • JThunder

        Aug 15, 2019 at 11:43 pm

        So you believe that even young kids are smart enough – and/or their parents are engaged enough in their lives – that they carefully pick and choose which specific things about their “heroes” that they emulate, while carefully disregarding others?

        I can think of at least one major country where the leader’s followers are certainly spending a LOT of time (and ammunition) emulating the worst of his behaviors (and words).

        I wonder how many people making this argument for Tiger would accept the same argument about Ozzy Osbourne? Yeah, forget the decades of drugs and decapitated animals – he’s a talented signer and songwriter! Kids know the difference!

  21. No fan ????

    Aug 9, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    I am also so sick of this Tiger ???? train, makes me sick he can be 7 shots back and the announcers say man if he can just birdie the last 8 holes he will when….give me a break. GWRX is also obsessed with Tiger , all this discussion about his decision to use lead tape on putter vs using a heavier putter. Believe me there’s a lot more exciting things in the golf world right now than TW ……smh

    • Monty Hall

      Aug 9, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      So let me get this straight, you are sick of Tiger talk on GolfWRX. So why are you here? My guess is you enjoy complaining about people that talk about Tiger on GolfWRX otherwise you would not be here. Remeber ignore the noise, focus on what you are interested in and everything else is “ghost”!

      • Aj

        Aug 9, 2019 at 9:55 pm

        No I’m just sick of the constant attention he is given while other golfers who are more deserving are ignored there is plenty of young talent on the tour without having to dwell on what he done 20 years ago move on

        • Brandon H

          Aug 12, 2019 at 8:43 am

          So are you mad that we still constantly talk about Michael Jordan? That’s what happens when you’re the GOAT, you get talked about FOREVER!!!!!

  22. Aj

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I will be glad when he’s done for good I am so tired of hearing about tiger tiger tiger if he’s playing in the tournament you see the all of his shots whether or not he’s in last place or first when he’s not playing in the tournament you still hear tiger did there’s tiger did that here please retire

    • Manny Upshaw

      Aug 10, 2019 at 2:00 am

      There are only 4 majors a year he has won one of them but your tired of a winning golfer????

  23. NICK

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    TIGER WOODS WILL WIN AGAIN!

  24. Golf al

    Aug 9, 2019 at 4:12 pm

    Thank Tiger

  25. Brad Flacco

    Aug 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    You literally just copied this concept from the Mygolfspy owner post. Wow.

  26. JP

    Aug 9, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Sucking up a little too much…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Opinion & Analysis

A day at the CP Women’s Open

Published

on

It’s another beautiful summer day in August. Just like any other pro-am at a professional tour event, amateurs are nervously warming up on the driving range and on the putting green next to their pros. As they make their way to the opening tees, they pose for their pictures, hear their names called, and watch their marque player stripe one down the fairway. But instead of walking up 50 yards to the “am tees,” they get to tee it up from where the pros play—because this is different: this is the LPGA Tour!

I’m just going to get right to it, if you haven’t been to an LPGA Tour event you NEED to GO! I’ve been to a lot of golf events as both a spectator and as media member, and I can say an LPGA Tour event is probably the most fun you can have watching professional golf.

The CP Women’s Open is one of the biggest non-majors in women’s golf. 96 of the top 100 players in the world are in the field, and attendance numbers for this stop on the schedule are some of the highest on tour. The 2019 edition it is being held at exclusive Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ontario, which is about an hour north of downtown Toronto and designed by noted Canadian architect Doug Carrick. The defending Champion is none other than 21-year-old Canadian phenom Brooke Henderson, who won in emotional fashion last year.

From a fan’s perspective, there are some notable differences at an LPGA Tour event, and as a true “golf fan,” not just men’s golf fan, there are some big parts of the experience that I believe everyone can enjoy:

  • Access: It is certainly a refreshing and laidback vibe around the golf course. It’s easy to find great vantage points around the range and practice facility to watch the players go through their routines—a popular watching spot. Smaller infrastructure doesn’t mean a smaller footprint, and there is still a lot to see, plus with few large multi-story grandstands around some of the finishing holes, getting up close to watch shots is easier for everyone.
  • Relatability: This is a big one, and something I think most golfers don’t consider when they choose to watch professional golf. Just like with the men’s game there are obviously outliers when it comes to distance on the LPGA Tour but average distances are more in line with better club players than club players are to PGA Tour Pros. The game is less about power and more about placement. Watching players hit hybrids as accurately as wedges is amazing to watch. Every player from a scratch to a higher handicap can learn a great deal from watching the throwback style of actually hitting fairways and greens vs. modern bomb and gouge.
  • Crowds: (I don’t believe this is just a “Canadian Thing”) It was refreshing to spend an entire day on the course and never hear a “mashed potatoes” or “get in the hole” yelled on the tee of a par 5. The LPGA Tour offers an extremely family-friendly atmosphere, with a lot more young kids, especially young girls out to watch their idols play. This for me is a huge takeaway. So much of professional sports is focused on the men, and with that you often see crowds reflect that. As a father to a young daughter, if she decides to play golf, I love the fact that she can watch people like her play the game at a high level.

There is a lot of talk about the difference between men’s and women’s professional sports, but as far as “the product” goes, I believe that LPGA Tour offers one of the best in professional sports, including value. With a great forecast, a great course, and essentially every top player in the field, this week’s CP Women’s Open is destined to be another great event. If you get the chance to attend this or any LPGA Tour event, I can’t encourage you enough to go!

Your Reaction?
  • 21
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW1
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Podcasts

TG2: New podcaster Larry D on his show “Bogey Golf”

Published

on

GolfWRX Radio welcomes a new podcast, Bogey Golf with Larry D and we talk to Larry. He lets us in on his show, who he is, why he loves the game, and even what’s in his bag! Rob missed his member-guest and Knudson got a new driver.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Getting to know Payne Stewart

Published

on

Ever since that final putt fell in Pinehurst in 1999, Payne Stewart’s memory has enjoyed mythical qualities. A man of complex charm, but many of us who grew up without him recognize only his Knickerbocker pants, his flat cap, and his W.W.J.D. covered wrist wrapped around that United States Open trophy.

I had a wonderful opportunity to play a round of golf with two men that know a lot about Payne. One through friendship and the other through journalistic research.

Lamar Haynes was Payne Stewart’s close friend and teammate on the SMU golf team. He’s full of stories about Payne from the good old days. Kevin Robbins is an author who just finished a new book on Stewart’s final year of life, set to release to the public for purchase this October. He works as a professor of journalism at the University of Texas but has also enjoyed an impressive career as a reporter and golf writer for over 20 years.

We met at Mira Vista Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, to talk about Payne. Robbins is a solid golfer who spends time working on his game, which tells me a lot about his personality. He is one of us.  As for Haynes, the guy hasn’t lost much since those SMU golf team days. He can still swing it. Fantastic iron player. And both men are wonderful conversationalists. They offered a unique perspective on Stewart—the golfer I grew up idolizing but never really knew. There’s a good chance you don’t really know him, either. At least not the whole story.

“Most golf fans now know the story of his ’99 U.S. Open win,” Robbins said.  “What they don’t know is where he came from.”

Robbins’ book, The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Foreverchronicles Payne’s last year on earth with dramatic detail, covering his triumph at Pinehurst and the Ryder Cup at Brookline. And, of course, it tells the story of that tragic plane crash that took our champion from us. What the book doesn’t do is hide any of the blemishes about Payne’s life that have either been forgotten or pushed aside by brighter moments and memories.

“I thought that the other Payne Stewart books, while they have a place, they didn’t tell the whole story,” Robbins said.

The whole story, from what I read, was Payne being brash. A poor winner and sometimes a poor sport when he lost. He often said things he shouldn’t have said and then made those mistakes again and again.

“He had no filter,” remembered Haynes.  “Several close friends on tour had a hard time with him when he won his first Open. He didn’t take into account any of the consequences his words could create. He had a huge heart. Huge heart. But at times there was just no filter. But he grew a great deal over the last 2 or three years.”

It’s most certainly is a book about a change. A change in a man that was better late than never. But also a change in golf that began at the turn of the century and hasn’t really slowed down since.

“The 20 years since his death, to see the way golf has moved, what the tour looks like now,” Robins said.  “There was an evolution that was taking place in 1999 and we didn’t know how it would manifest itself. But now we do. So when you see Brooks Koepka hit a 3-wood in the US Open 370 yards, well that all really had its beginnings in 1998 and 1999. The Pro-V1 ball was being tested in 1999 and being rolled out in 2000. Fitness and equipment, sports psychology, nutrition. All of those things that a guy like Payne Stewart really didn’t have to pay attention to.”

But that change that occurred in Payne, culminating in his final year of life, is something worth learning. It’s a lesson for all of us. A guy on top of the world with still so much to fix. And he was fixing it, little by little.

“He was authentic,” Haynes said. “And he learned a lot later in life from his children. With their Bible studies. You saw a change in him. Very much. He had a peace with himself but he still would revert to his DNA. The fun-loving Payne. Raising children and being a father helped him tremendously.”

Payne was passionate about so many things in life but his children became a primary focus. According to Haynes, he would be so loud at his daughter’s volleyball games…yelling intensely at the referees…that they gave him an option: Either he wouldn’t be allowed to watch the games anymore or he needed to become a line judge and help out with the games. So, Payne Stewart became a volleyball line judge.

Lamar brought the head of an old Ram 7-iron along with him to show me. Damaged and bent from the crash, the club was with Payne on his final flight. He had it with him to show his guys at Mizuno as a model for a new set of irons. That Ram 7-iron belonged to Haynes and Payne had always adored the way it looked at address.

“Payne also used my old Mizunos the last year of his life,” Haynes said.  I had received the MS-4s 10 years earlier from Payne in 1989. They were like playing with a shaft on a knife. The sweet spot was so tiny on the MS-4. They made the MP29 and 14s look like game improvement irons. Payne used those. Then Harry Taylor at Mizuno designed him an iron, which later became the MP33. The 29 and 14s were very sharp and flat-soled. Well, Payne loved this old Ram iron set that I had.. He asked for my Ram 7-iron for Harry Taylor to model his new set. He liked the way it went through the turf. He had it with him on the plane. This is the club that started the MP33.”

It was Lamar Haynes, the man who seems to know just about everyone in the golf community, that set Robbins on this writing journey. Robbins had written one book previously: The story of the life of legendary golf coach Harvey Penick. But this book came a bit easier for Robbins, partly due to his experience, partly due to the subject matter, and partly because of Lamar.

“There’s a story here,” Robbins said. “With any book, you hope to encounter surprises along the way, big and little. And I did. I got great cooperation a long the way. Anybody I wanted to talk to, talked to me thanks to this guy Lamar Haynes.”

“Lamar said the first guy you need to talk to is Peter Jacobsen,” Robins said. “And I said ‘great can you put me in touch with him’ which became a common question to Lamar throughout the process.” Robbins chuckled.  “Literally 2 minutes later my phone rings. ‘Kevin, this is Peter Jacobsen here.'”

“Peter told me the story about the ’89 PGA championship in our first conversation. So literally in the first 10 minutes of my reporting effort, I had the first set piece of the book. I had something. Lamar made a lot happen.”

Lamar Haynes and Kevin Robbins

The book is not a biography, though it certainly has biographical elements to it. It is simply the story of Payne’s final year, with a look back at Payne’s not so simple career mixed in. The author’s real talent lives in the research and honesty. The story reads like you’re back in 1999 again, with quotes pulled from media articles or press conferences. Anecdotes are sprinkled here and there from all of Payne’s contemporaries. The storytelling is seamless and captivating.

“I was pleasantly surprised how much Colin Montgomerie remembered about the concession at the 1999 Ryder Cup,” Robbins said. “Colin can be a tough interview. He is generally mistrustful of the media. His agent gave me 15 minutes during the Pro-Am in Houston. This was in the spring of 2018. I met Colin on the 17th hole and he had started his round on 10. Just organically the conversation carried us to the fifth green. Just because he kept remembering things. He kept talking, you know. It was incredible. Tom Lehman was the same way. He said “I’ll give you 20 minutes” and it ended up being an hour and a half at Starbucks.”

The research took Robbins to Massachusetts, Florida, and Missouri—and of course, to Pinehurst. He met with Mike Hicks, Payne’s former caddie, there to discuss that final round. The two ended up out on Pinehurst No. 2, walking the last three holes and reliving the victory. It gives life to the story and fills it with detail.

“Part of what I hoped for this book is that it would be more than just a sports story,” Robbins said.  “More than just a golf story. The more I started thinking about where Payne began and where he ended, it seemed to me…and I’m not going to call it a redemption story although I bet some people do. People when they are younger, they have regrets and they make mistakes. They do things they wish they could take back but they can’t. So, what can they do? Well, they can improve. They can get better. That’s what Payne was doing with his life. He was improving himself. It was too late to change what he had done already. So what could he do with the future? He could be different.”

“It was accurate,” Haynes said.  “I had a tear when I finished it. I texted Kevin right afterward. I told him I couldn’t call him because I’m choked up so I texted him.”

So here’s two men who knew Payne Stewart, albeit in very different ways. They knew he was flawed in life but he got better. Was Payne Stewart that hero at Pinehurst, grabbing Phil Mickelson’s face and telling him the important thing is he’s going to be a father? Yes. But he was so much more than that. He was so much more than I knew before I read this book. Most importantly, Payne Stewart was always improving. A lesson for all of us, indeed.

If you want to hear more about my experience, tweet at me here @FWTXGolfer or message me on Instagram here! I look forward to hearing from you!

Your Reaction?
  • 117
  • LEGIT28
  • WOW17
  • LOL1
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP1
  • OB2
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending