One of the most famous Q-School failures belonged to Joe Daley. With just four feet to go on the 18th hole, he decided to make a definitive, back-of-the-cup putt. Take as much of the break out of it as possible and be done with it. Make sure.
And it worked. That putt went into the dead center of the hole…but with just enough extra on it that it hit the cup liner and hopped back up on the front lip. He missed earning his card by one shot. Back to the mini-tours.
From time to time he would show up on a Web.com Tour broadcast and the booth would recount the tragedy again. It just made for compelling television. But as he drifted along in the backwaters of professional golf, so too did he fade from memory. Many people remembered the putt but not necessarily the guy who missed it, until yet another booth married them in our minds once again.
That guy, you know? Whatever happened to him? Did it break his heart like it broke ours for him when it happened? Happily, no.
In this wonderful column by AP in the New York Times — I can’t believe the writer didn’t get a byline — the limelight falls back on Daley, this time for his redemption and not his failure. It just took a very long time.
It’s principally the story about how Daley managed to win the 2012 Senior Players Championship which earned him a spot the “Big Show,” The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass coming up in two weeks. The story arc begins there and ends there, but it’s the meaty story in the middle that makes this a heartwarming and inspirational story of a man who never stopped believing in himself…and a wife who never did either.