Sunday, March 29, 2009

Laziest of days....

I grew up in a house and culture that very much believed Sunday to be the "day of rest," and today I absolutely lived up to that. I got home from church a little before noon, and never left the house!

First some lunch, then a short nap, then about five hours on the couch watching Tiger Woods win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He started the day five shots behind, made up the difference and then won it with a birdie on the 18th hole. Amazing.

I'm grateful to be around to see Tiger. I'm too young to have seen Babe Ruth play, and even Willie Mays - IMHO, the greatest of all time - was pretty much done by the time I was a teenager. I saw Gordie Howe, but only when he was older, and of course I lived through all of Wayne Gretzky's career. I'm not sure who the best football player of all-time is, or if I saw him play. (Jim Brown? Gale Sayers? Joe Montana?). But this I know: Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer of all time, and I've been able to watch his entire career.

If you ask Tiger what the two or three best shots in his career are, he'll mention the famous chip-in at the Masters, a 6-iron on the 72nd hole of the Canadian Open and a 3-iron he hit in the 2001 PGA at Hazeltine, in Chaska, Minnesota. It was on the 18th hole, and Tiger was in a fairway bunker almost 200 yards from the green. He had to get the shot up quickly, to get it over the lip of the trap. But he had to keep it low, to get under a tree branch that was in front of him. He had to fight some wind, and make the shot move left-to-right to get it on the green. Somehow he did all of that, landed the ball about 20 feet from the flag, then rolled in the birdie putt.

There are two reasons I remember the shot so well. 1) About a year later, in a Golf Digest interview, he said he thought it was the best shot he ever hit. 2) My son William and I were sitting in the bleachers on the 18th hole watching the whole thing. It was a chilly Saturday morning (they were finishing suspended rounds from Friday afternoon), and there couldn't have been more than a couple hundred of us in the bleachers. Imagine being there in person for the greatest-ever shot by the world's greatest-ever golfer! William and I will remember that forever. It's like having been there when Babe Ruth called his shot, or Wilt Chamberlian scored the 100 points.

So, to continue my lazy day: Tiger drained the winning putt just about 10 minutes before the Wild started their game up in Edmonton. That gave me enough time to fire up the grill for the first time this year, cook some burgers and be back on the couch early in the first period of the Wild game. They won 3-2, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive, and now I'm wrapping up a total couch-potato day by updating the blog.

Day of rest, indeed!

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