by Jeff Skinner
The game of golf can be a humbling game. PGA Tour golf can be even more humbling. That was obvious during the closing holes of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
The reigning Masters Champ was humbled by his balky putter and winner Matt Every was humbled by the fact that he finally broke through for his first PGA Tour win. The 30 year old Every benefitted from Scott’s poor round and hung on as Keegan Bradley’s last chance effort to force a playoff failed.
Every started the day four shots behind Scott who had set the 36 hole scoring mark at the Arnold Palmer Invitational with opening rounds of 62-68. Every played solid, but unspectacular golf through the fifteenth hole, got it to 15 under par and went into the 16th hole with a three stroke lead. But Every was humbled by the Bay Hill layout with bogeys on 16 and 18. Scott posed no threat at that point and Bradley was the last player left with any chance. When he missed his birdie putt at 18 Every had finally claimed his first PGA Tour win.
It took Every much longer than he ever imagined to be a winner out here as he boasted about his game even before he was a member of the tour. John Strege of Golf Digest chronicles the cockiness of a young Every: When he was 21 and vying for low amateur in the U.S. Open, Every declared himself just as good as anyone else in the field and “probably better.”
When he turned pro a year later, he complained that the dearth of sponsor exemptions was not commensurate to his resume, which included the Ben Hogan Award as college’s top player. When detours kept him from his destination, the PGA Tour, he grumbled that he belonged there, that he was a better player than many of those who got there ahead of him.
Confidence and belief in oneself is essential to be successful on the PGA Tour. But many times those that vocalize their own self-assuredness a bit too loudly pay a price. Every’s crowing in his younger days may have hurt his image but it also served to educate him on how difficult it is to follow up the boasting with victories.
A near speechless and emotional Every could barely talk as tears rolled down his cheeks afterwards, “I … I … I can’t believe I won,” he said. “I just … I really can’t. Every savored his victory as he grew up watching this tournament as a kid. “Being close to winning out here, it can be kind of discouraging because if you don’t win, you just wonder if it’s ever going to happen,” Every said. “And sometimes you tell yourself, `Well, maybe it’s meant to be somewhere else, somewhere better.’ I don’t see how it could get much better than this – being so close to where I grew up and all the fans out there that were cheering me on. It was awesome.”
Every turned professional with plenty of cockiness and brashness. His years on the PGA Tour have had many ups, downs and personal challenges. His win is made sweeter by all those difficulties and Every has realized what most professionals have come to know…it is really tough to win on the PGA Tour.