In case you hadn't heard, a certain decision made by a certain someone yesterday may have been the end of sports, or something like that. But there was an actual magical feat in sports yesterday, and that the magic—a 59, just the fourth in PGA Tour history—was worked by Paul Goydos only makes it sweeter.
Goydos is a funny, self-deprecating guy. He's one of the fixtures of John Feinstein's A Good Walk Spoiled, and, in talking to Feinstein about yesterday's round, quipped, "Most people dream of shooting their age. I shot my height." Affable gets affixed to Goydos, and it makes sense, because he's a journeyman who has never taken himself or his sport too seriously. He's more known for his wit than his irons. And that's likely fine with him.
But for Goydos, this is a deserved moment of shine, too. His ex-wife, Wendy, passed away last year of an accidental overdose. She had fought substance abuse problems—taking pills to cope with chronic migraines—and as Goydos' career declined in his late 30s, his marriage fell apart. He took a year off, spending it with his daughters and having sinus surgery. He, to the average golf fan, was a nobody who went nowhere, and his private life as a single dad with two teenage daughters and a troubled ex-wife was certainly more difficult than playing golf for money.
Then he came back to the course. He won in Hawaii in 2007. After his 59 yesterday, he gave a charming interview afterward. (It begins, "You know, breakfast was good.") He's still just one shot ahead of Steve Stricker—who made the mistake of firing a 60 on a day it wasn't the low round—entering the second round of the John Deere Classic, and if the self-proclaimed "worst player in the history of the PGA Tour" regresses to the mean, he might well not win the tournament.
But Goydos knows this will be the round that is remembered, the one that puts him in record books and in headlines. He's smart like that. We would be smart to notice him, now, as a brief spot of sun in a seemingly dark landscape for sports being overrun by hype and money.
"I'm just happy to have a job," Goydos said yesterday, downplaying how special his round was. The simple dignity of doing that job, occasionally quite well, and cracking jokes all the way should win Goydos a few fans. At the very least, most who witnessed his spectacle yesterday probably went away thrilledâ†µ
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