I Can’t Imagine a Worse Feeling than Sleeping on a Lead in a Golf Major

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As is usually the case in early April, it looks like Spring is finally here to stay. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, baseball is back, I’m planning out how I’m going to spruce up my yard with some flowers, and I just got my first pack of hot dogs in 2017 (might be a little early but I couldn’t wait any longer) (also, if you disagree that natural casing hot dogs and top sliced buns are superior I don’t have room for you in my life). It’s just a pretty pleasant time. Spring also brings the Masters, and with it, the meat of the PGA Tour schedule. I like the Masters for a variety of reasons, one of which being that it doesn’t take itself too seriously (just kidding, it’s the most self-serious and self-important event in the history of mankind) and has the final pairing tee off before 3 pm so it actually ends before dinner (my only complaint against the U.S. Open). Being that it’s a major, it also signals the beginning of Sergio Season, a special time of year where Sergio Garcia is top 3 on the leaderboard after every major’s third round only to inevitably collapse and not win.

I always wonder why pro golfers, by law, have to be the most boring people of all time. 95% of them are the same stiff, milquetoast white guy who their own mothers wouldn’t recognize if they passed them on the street. It’s pretty much the only reason people like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson (you’re the definition of a sucker if you actually like Bubba Watson. Guy is such a dweeb/dick): they’re lefties and play aggressively so they’re actually different. Think about it- Dustin Johnson is married to Paulina Gretzky, a.k.a. Wayne Gretzky’s daughter, is a legitimate cocaine addict, and has (allegedly) slept with every other Tour Player’s wife at least once, and he’s still the most boring person ever. Like in history. Have you heard him talk? I’ve got a pretty monotone voice and I’d have to inhale about 50 Xanax and spend the next 35 years working in a cube to sound as depressed and devoid of personality as Dustin does mere minutes after winning last year’s U.S. Open. Liven up, man! You’ve got the perfect life! You don’t need to look like your dog died 30 seconds ago every time you speak. There’s some established guys I root for, but if they’re out of it I pretty much always root for the (very) few minority players to win because it shakes things up a bit and there’s a 1% chance they’ll have a human reaction to winning millions of dollars and not look like a computer searching its database for the “happy” setting. But when I really think about it, it actually makes sense.

Unless you’re one of the all time greats, performing well in majors seems like the worst thing that could ever happen to your psyche. It’s an ungodly amount of pressure. Every time you finish a day (excluding Sunday, obviously) leading a major, it has to get harder and harder to keep your sanity. Players who haven’t won a major before are talked about like they’ve never played golf before. “Oh, man, it’s tough to be a first time winner. So much pressure you can get into your own head. I’d be surprised if he broke 100 today. Wonder if he remembered to bring his putter.” Sleeping on a Saturday lead is really unlike anything else in sports. Everyone in the world tells you how hard it is and how much pressure is on you and how you’re going to blow it for like 18 hours straight. Some of these guys go in so nervous and tight they’re playing with one hand behind their backs. Miss one two foot putt and next thing you know you’ve put together a +10 round and are so far off the lead they don’t even show you on TV anymore. Sure, there’s a lot of pressure on you hitting down one in the ninth or taking the last shot in basketball, but those moments don’t happen every game and aren’t talked about relentlessly before they actually happen. Every single hole is like the last two minutes of game 7 of the finals. Take Sergio for example. He came in to today leading, added a few strokes to the lead, but all of a sudden Justin Rose got hot and Sergio wasn’t perfect on like, three shots and now it looks like he’s dying to get this round over with. He’s already accepted the fact that he’s going to collapse and he’s still tied for the lead! These players are just told over and over again that they’re going to blow it and are so fragile mentally that it’s no wonder they all kind of short circuit. There’s no emotion left in them. The second they step onto a golf course they just get PTSD of their last collapse. Jordan Spieth’s career might never be the same after last year’s Masters. I’m kind of surprised there aren’t more scandals involving golfers. Was Tiger really the only one that needed to chase hookers and Perkins waitresses because for once he felt like he was in control? None of these other guys do crazy stuff to try and forget how many times they’ve been beaten down by their sport? Lee Westwood was the third round leader for like 10 straight majors and never won any of them. You’re telling me he came out of that unscathed mentally? I’m surprised there aren’t more golfer murderers or suicides. Being a pro golfer essentially turns you into a sociopath desperately searching for ways to feel alive. Charl Schwartzel might have dozens of bodies in his freezer and we’ll never know because he never does anything that draws attention to himself. Sergio has probably spent a lot of time murdering homeless people. Everyone that’s ever lead any major needs to be put under investigation by the FBI because they’ve got something seedy going on in their personal lives. Dustin Johnson is lucky in a way because everyone already knows all the crazy stuff he does. It’s the random no name guys we need to be worried about.

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