Another reason to love golf: it seems that about a third of the men on Tour are professing Christians of humble and endearing faith. Almost every other winner gives glory to God in his interviews, sometimes to the amusing discomfiture of the interviewer. Yesterday an American named Jonathan Byrd won the John Deere classic in Illinois, a smaller tournament lacking in big-name players but thereby offering a better opportunity to the younger guys. Interviewed by Bobby Clampett, he said that he prayed to God for calm during the final holes. If that sounds hokey to you — well, then you’ve probably never played golf. Calm in this game, in pressure situations, really must have a divine origin.
Poor Tim Clark, a South African who held the lead almost all day Sunday until his last two holes, showed on the 17th why this is so. His second shot on the par-5, slightly mis-hit, landed on the upslope of a fairway bunker, right near the lip, leaving a near-impossible shot. Had it carried 18 more inches, it likely would have taken a nice bounce up toward the hole, at worst coming to rest in the greenside bunker to set up a fairly routine up-and-down for birdie.
Just another week on the PGA Tour. Byrd’s victory give him a bid to next week’s British Open, as well as a spot in next year’s Masters. Nice perks for a “smaller” tournament.