by Jeff Skinner
This past Sunday could have been billed as “Redemption Sunday” on the professional golf tours. We saw two comebacks culminate in victory for two players that have struggled recently and watched another dramatic comeback, still in its infancy, continue to make huge progress.
Adam Scott had been billed as the next Greg Norman when he first came on to the PGA Tour. Like his fellow Aussie he had a big game and his movie star good looks made him a crowd favorite. It didn’t hurt that Norman had taken him under his wing and served as a mentor for Scott. Prior to 2009 Scott had six PGA Tour wins including the 2004 Players Championship. Then in 2009 he made headlines for his breakup with his long time girlfriend and all the famous, young women he was dating. His golf game suffered as he only made nine of nineteen cuts on the tour and he finished 108th on the PGA Tour Money List.
A bold move by his mentor, Norman, changed his career. Scott was selected by Norman to play for his President’s Cup Team. It was that move that helped Scott’s confidence but it was his meeting with putting guru, Dave Stockton that really changed his game. Scott spent thirty minutes with Stockton who had him move his hands forward at address to get the forward lean that Stockton thinks is critical for a good, consistent roll. Scott finally had the confidence back in his game and it worked as he played wonderful golf and putted better than he had in years. Scott collected his seventh PGA Tour win and a whole lot of confidence with the victory.
Se Ri Pak had started a revolution in South Korea when she turned on an entire country to women’s golf. In her rookie year in 1998 she won four times on The LPGA including two majors, The US Open and The LPGA Championship. She followed that with another four win season in 1999 had had back to back five win seasons in 2001 and 2002. She was responsible for the explosion of golf in her home country and subjected to the pressures of being a national hero. By 2007 she had amassed 24 wins, 5 major championships and admission to the World Golf Hall of Fame. She was twenty four and the youngest player ever elected into The Hall of Fame.
2007 was the last season that Pak had a win on the LPGA Tour. She has been going through some personal issues as well as searching for her game. After two years of searching she finally found it with her win at The Bell Micro Classic. She was emotional after the win, “I’ve been here so many times, but I think I’ve been having a hard time the last couple of years,” Pak said. “I’m trying to get myself to better momentum. I work really hard every single day, every single moment, every single tournament. I knew this day was going to come. All I could do is be patient and work hard.” She shed a few tears and I’m sure a few were shed for her. It’s a wonderful story: former great makes it back to the top. Pak has never displayed anything other than class on the tour. It has to be a very rewarding moment for her.
The real winner at The Champions Tour wasn’t Dan Forsman even though he did get the trophy and a nice check. Ken Green continued his comeback to golf from his horrific RV accident. This was his first individual event since he started playing again and each week has to be an emotional and physical strain. Green had said his goal was to stay out of last place and he accomplished that by finishing T73 and besting three other players.
Green said the hilly course was difficult for him as he really hasn’t perfected his swing from an uneven lie. He is the first golfer to play on tour with a prosthetic leg but for him he is just trying to get his old life back. It’s less than a year since the accident and his competing is nothing less than miraculous.
“I’m pretty happy with the week. This is a tough course with the different lies you can get here. This is my first individual tournament in awhile where every shot counts. The one thing I have to keep remembering is it seems like it’s been an eternity, but it’s only been 11 months. I’ve done very little in terms of golf. It’s definitely a home run for me. I got through the week. I hit a lot of good shots and some bad ones. I’m happy with it. It’s encouraging that there is some hope that I can go out there and play some good golf. The support has been unbelievable. I can tell you how much it means to me when people come up to me and tell me that I’m an inspiration to them and that my story is wonderful. That gives me so much joy and happiness. It’s been a pretty tough time. When people come up and give me a boost of energy and love, it makes me feel good. The players have been wonderful. I was a little worried. I thought they would wonder why I’m playing, that I really shouldn’t be out here because I’m not playing good enough. They’ve been just the opposite. I misread the reception of the players and I’m glad I did. They’ve all said it’s wonderful for me to be out here, go ahead and play, it doesn’t matter what you shoot, you’re playing golf again.”
Green was known as a free spirit in his younger days on tour. Today he is inspirational. If he never wins again it won’t matter. He is playing golf again and is trying to put his shattered life back together again. Green is attempting to rescue himself from the darkest time in his life. Regardless of his score, each week he tees it up he is a winner.