“Live” from the Masters 2017… (Part 1 – Big Dilemma…) Par 5

Each year I look forward, with great anticipation and expectations for “The Masters” to be played.  To me, not only is it one of the premier tournaments in golf, it is the undeniable declaration that spring has actually arrived on the course as well as in my heart. Imagine my surprise, last Thursday (April 6th), when I turned on my television, homed in on “Live from The Masters”, to see media representatives from all over the world surrounding Dustin Johnson. And, to make matters even more intriguing, he (Dustin) hadn’t even teed off yet.

April 6, 2017 AUGUSTA Dustin Johnson talks with media after deciding not to play in the opening round of the 81st Masters tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, Thursday April 6, 2017. Johnson was reportedly injured Wednesday afternoon at his residence. BRANT SANDERLIN / SPECIAL

If you can–put yourself in Dustin’s shoes for a moment.

You have made over 44 million dollars in the past 10 years, dedicating yourself to a profession you truly love.  Roughly one third of that income has come since the start of 2016 and you have already surpassed your average income over the past 10 years in the first 3 months of 2017, with 9 months of earnings potential still left in the year. You are at the pinnacle of your career and ranked the Number 1 golfer in the world. Your career is on an upward trajectory having won the last 3 tournaments you have entered. And you are the odds on favorite to prevail in this week’s tournament–the 2017 Masters.

You want to play and you’ve worked hard for the privilege to play. Having won your first “Major” tournament less than a year ago, the taste of that victory is still sweet in your mouth–a foretaste of how good it will feel to have the “Green (Champions) Jacket” slipped over your shoulders, the second step in your quest to be the fifth player in the history of golf to achieve the “Grand Slam” by winning all four “major” tournaments (The Masters, U.S. Open, The “British” Open – and the PGA Championship).

You tell yourself “…it’s not about the money” but somewhere in the recesses of you mind thoughts percolate regarding winnings, endorsements, appearance monies and other fringe benefits dancing within reach.

In spite of those thoughts you constantly remind yourself of the primary goal— It’s not so much about the money and other accouterments that should hold sway—it’s about “WINNING” on the biggest stage of its kind in the entire world.  You are confident in your skills and your preparation and…

…You know what you need to do right.

All of these thoughts are swimming in your head. But there is also a bit of a cloud of uncertainty on the horizon. Less than twenty-four hours ago you fell down a flight of stairs banging you elbow and sending some significant discomfort into your lower back; such that, with just moments to go before tee off, you sense that your swing will be only seventy percent of what it should be. There is a Ping-Pong match going on in your heart and soul.“…To play or not to play, that is the question.” You take a few more practice swings and still that sharp knife shot of pain in your lower back accompanies each swing.

 It’s a decision potentially worth millions of dollars in the short-term. And, you might be okay in just a couple of days. But, if you are wrong and you further damage your back it could be career shortening or even career ending as you have seen to be the case with Tiger Woods. The financial cost alone could be inestimably high, not to mention the truncation in lifestyle downstream.

You’ve sought the counsel of your swing coach, the encouragement and thoughts of your brother who happens to be your caddie, your doctor and your physical therapist. And now, with just minutes to go before your 2:03 tee time, the tournament officials are asking for your decision. What’s your choice?

Risk it…or…rest it?

–Freeze Frame—

While I was watching this scenario play out on my TV screen, the angst in the air seemed almost palpable. Not too often does one have the machinations of their soul play out so publicly. The question I kept asking myself was, “…Given the situation, what would you do…(Larry)?

To be continued in ”Live from the Masters 2017…(Big
Decision) Par 5   Part 2

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rudolf Hebling on April 16, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    …… way to write a cliff hanger……

    Rudi >


  2. Hooked! Please don’t keep us waiting too long!


  3. I”m working on it. 🙂


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