I suppose the success of books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” reveals that we are all. to some extent, masochists. But, to me, the most convincing evidence is the popularity of golf.
Millions play the “game” all over the world and many more millions watch it in person or on TV. Yet it can be so bitterly disappointing.
Golfers – and golf fans – are like that Charlie Brown character in “Peanuts.” We keep hoping that the football won’t get pulled away at the last minute this time. Even though we know in our hearts it will.
Personally, I can think of any number of occasions on which golf has utterly humiliated me. Like the time in my callow youth when I was about to shoot under par in a tournament at Constant Spring golf club – for the first and only time in my life – and hooked the ball over the wall into Immaculate Conception High School on my approach to the very last hole. Naturally, there was a cluster of girls sitting on the wall, watching…
Or the time I was invited by a new girlfriend to play with her father and brother at their fancy private golf club in Canada and heeled the ball off the first tee into a startled gallery…
But you might say that’s just me. I have a tendancy to make a fool of myself from time to time.
But what about Tiger (photo above)? What about Rickie?
Both stars were painfully embarrassed in the first round of the US Open yesterday. Tiger, once the world’s greatest golfer – perhaps the greatest ever – shot 80. Rickie shot 81.
The same Rickie who won the Players Championship a few months ago in a magnificent display of skill and guts.
If you watched Tiger, Rickie and Louis Oosthuizen (who won the British Open just five years ago), you had to be devastated. Their combined score was more than two dozen over par!
If you watched them to the end of their round, let’s face it, you enjoy pain. Who but a masochist would sit there and watch while greatness was inevitably reduced to rubble?
And you’ll watch again today, won’t you? I know I will be watching.
We think there’s a chance our beleaguered favorites will somehow make a miraculous turnaround, that Tiger will find his magic again, that Rickie will shoot darts like he did in the Players, that Louis will recapture the touch he had at St. Andrews.
Yes, in our hearts, we know that’s not likely to happen. But in golf, as in life, anything is possible. There’s always tomorrow.
And that’s what keeps us glued to our TV sets. That’s why we keep heading back to the golf course day after day, year after year, no matter what.