by Jeff Skinner
It was an eventful weekend in the world of golf with all the tours in action and some players made news without even lifting a club. Tiger Woods was finally dethroned by Lee Westwood for the top spot in the World Rankings. U.S. Open Champion and Ryder Cup hero Graeme McDowell continued his fantastic season with a win at The Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Spain. The painstakingly slow Ben Crane (my god, he plays slow) took home first place at The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia, and yes it is a PGA Tour event. On the LPGA Tour Na Yeon Choi came from a stroke back at the start of the final round to win The LPGA Hana Bank Championship with American Vicky Hurst finishing two strokes back in second place. The Nationwide Tour finished their season with the Tour Championship at Daniel Island and handed out 25 brand new, shiny PGA Tour Cards to the top money earners for the year. That’s a great tournament and the excitement always centers on the players on the bubble around 25th place and not the leaders. All of these were all compelling stories but none of them are more exciting than what took place on The Champions Tour.
In the last full field event of the Champions Tour Season an unlikely winner stole the spotlight form Tiger and the rest of the golf world. Rod Spittle was a Monday qualifier playing in only his fifth tournament of the year at The A.T. &T. Championship. Spittle, a relative rookie in pro golf having only turned professional in 2004, played the last four holes in three under par to force a playoff with veteran Jeff Sluman. Spittle made par on the the first playoff hole and earned his first victory as a professional. He was living the dream of many an amateur who decided to turn pro. “Not to sound corny, but to say this is a dream come true literally is the case,” said Spittle. These are great players out here, and to come and tip-toe in that company is truly amazing.”
Just because he is new to the Champions Tour doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some golfing chops. Spittle played at Ohio State with John Cook and Joey Sindelar and was team captain his senior year. He was an All Big Ten golfer and won the Canadian Amateur in 1977 and 1978. Spittle decided after college to forgo the pro ranks and sold corporate insurance for twenty five years before he gave into his golfing itch in 2004. He was just named Director of Golf at Little Turtle Golf Club in Westerville Ohio.
It’s rare for a Monday Qualifier to win and Spittle’s win is nothing short of miraculous. He’ll be living the dream now that he’s a winner on tour and his life is sure to change. The Little Turtle Golf Club Newsletter’s announcement of Spittle’s appointment stated, “When Rod is not participating in Champions Tour events in 2010, he will be lending his golf and management expertise to the members and guests of Little Turtle Golf Club.” Somehow I think Spittle’s calendar is going to be very busy in the future. There’s nothing like seeing a dream come true.