Lambs To The Slaughter
It’s one thing to have earned a PGA Tour card. It’s quite another to know how to take advantage of it. Everybody knows this. It’s the reason that, unless it’s someone with truly great playing credentials, nobody pays attention to the new kids. But Kevin Kisner, gave us a reason to pay attention yesterday.
My first glimpse of the leaderboard at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis set me back a little because at the time, Kisner was just one stroke back at 4-under. A while later he got it to 5-under and was tied for the lead for a couple of holes until he gave up a bogey on 17. So I looked him up.
He came to us via the well-traveled path of the Nationwide Tour where he finished T11 in the Tour Championship. His first year on Tour must be a terrible disappointment to him. He has all the evidence he needs that he’s a competent professional player. And he was the first player in the University of Georgia history to be named All-American four times.
But you know, the PGA Tour is different. It’s expansive while all these other training venues are concise and knowable. There’s so much about the Tour that is unknowable until you get there. And actually it’s not the Tour, it’s you. You have to be able to get used to the sparkle, glitter and tidiness of the Tour. There’s nothing sloppy about a PGA Tour event. It’s together. It’s seamless. And it can be distracting…at least until you’ve served your apprenticeship.
Kisner has played in 12 events this, his first year on Tour, and he’s only made the cut 3 times. And in those he’s finished just, T39, T42 and T63. And made just $48,000. Travel expenses. This is what almost everyone has to go through.
But here he is, just one stroke back. It’s way too early to be breaking out the champaign, but this is what makes the PGA Tour and the players who play on it great. At any moment you could become a household name.
Anything is possible. It’s one of the old mottos of the Tour and, because golf demands so much of us, makes it one of the great laboratories for human achievement. That’s what keeps them out there on the road, always striving, always trying to get better. And it’s a great way to live your life; playing golf in a world of possibility.
Rory McIlroy Profile
I found this charming AP column by John Leicester quite captivating. In these days of pampered, self-important, star athletes, it’s quite refreshing to come across a young man like McIlroy who has feet on the ground and his head screwed on straight. All of it due to the collection of people in his home town of Holywood, Northern Ireland, a suburb of Belfast.
Family, friends, everybody knows who you are and expects you to fit in, to “catch yourself on!” Not only does it hearken back to a gentler time in America, it paints a wonderful picture that proves that those values still survive in “the Old Country” as well.
But beyond that, it paints a portrait of the jump players who started as young kids have on everyone else. This kid was beating everyone in international tournaments before he was even 10. He was so good, the local golf course exempted him from the age requirements for members; they admitted him when he was just 7.
His talent goes beyond believing in yourself. He’s been at this so long, his is more in the vein of simply knowing. And it comes largely from his childhood inquisitiveness over the challenges of the game, “Can I do that?” And then he would practice the shots until he knew that, “I can do that.”
And the other big jump he has is that he has been visualizing the future he is now living since he was 9 years old. “Asked if he wanted to become a professional golfer, McIlroy’s response was unhesitating: ‘Yes.’” How could he know that at 9? Partly because for the first ten months of his life, he used to lie in his baby carriage and watch his father hit golf balls.
It’s a wonderful profile.