December 11, 2009
A long time ago, I heard a story about a man I knew.
I’m leaving the details purposely vague, out of deference to the innocent.
I heard that his wife came upon him, while he was in a vehicle with another woman, not his wife.
The situation deteriorated from there, and badly.
My initial impulse when I heard this story was to laugh. The whole episode sounded like some kind of farcical situation comedy.
Soon after those initial smirks, however, I stopped laughing.
Far too many folks have far too many troubles in their married lives for me to laugh at these personal tragedies. Besides the couple’s own miseries, other members of their families are frequently sucked into the mess as well, including children and parents.
Even so, I was among those who were first surprised and then amused about Tiger Woods’ recent blow-up in his personal life. I know what the word “schadenfreude” means, and I admit that I sometimes succumb to the temptation to enjoy the humiliation of others.
I’m well over that now, at least with respect to the Woods family disaster. His wife is surely suffering through the ever-growing additions to the list of other women trumpeted through the media, and this week Tiger’s mother-in-law was taken to an Orlando hospital.
I really doubt her sudden illness was unrelated to the troubles her daughter and grandchildren are now facing.
Most readers of this column are old enough to know that professional athletes are appropriately recognized for their athleticism. Nonetheless, there’s a long stretch from appreciating what they do in the field or on the golf course to approving how some of those athletes lead their personal lives.
Unfortunately for the Woods family, millions of golf fans just re-learned that lesson, thanks to Tiger’s off-course rambles.
Oakley checks in
I received a nice email from Pete Oakley this week, writing from London, England. The Rookery’s Director of Golf is traveling to Mauritius for the Mauritius Commercial Bank Open, to be held December 11-13 at the Constance Belle Mare Plage course. The tournament is the first official European Senior Tour event for the 2010 season, which Oakley readily admits is “bassackwards.” On the other hand, the 230,000 Euro purse should smooth over any ruffled feathers about timing.
Oakley corrected a misimpression I had about his performance in the recent Senior Tour Qualifying School. I assumed his 8th place finish gave him full playing privileges for 2010, but Oakley says that status only applied to the top six finishers. On the other hand, Oakley hopes he will make it into most of the 2010 tournaments when higher-ranked players skip events, along with other potential openings.
He also admitted to a bad case of jitters during his ultimately successful last round in tour school in Portugal in November:
I must tell you that the pressure of the tour schools is greater (for me, anyway) than the 2004 Sr. Open was—-except for the morning sickness I experienced before the final round in Port Rush. I’ll never forget the final putt I had in Portugal (18 inches!) while seeing my name on the board behind the 18th green with my name in the position of the final qualifier (#8 at the time) and knowing that 18 inches meant play or stay home for 2010—-I still can’t believe I made the putt not being able to even see the ball as I attempted to execute the stroke! Somehow, (by the grace of God), it stumbled home and the exhilaration was incredible—-not nearly the exhilaration of the British Sr. Open Championship but close.
Oakley is excited about the coming year on tour, and plans to return to the Rookery Golf Course during the upcoming holidays.