Monday, August 23, 2010

Arjun Atwal Brings Amazing Personal Strength to Make Golf History

It was Sunday in the Texas Hill Country, and the temp was 103 degrees in the shade. Hoo!

So I wasn't out there with my weed-whacker clearing the wild part of our property next to the road. No, my brothers and sisters, I was inside cooling my heels in my favorite recliner and drinking a cold beer while watching the Wyndham Championship (formerly known as the Greensboro Open). I was watching because something strange and wonderful was happening.

Let me explain.

Until yesterday, Arjun Atwal was completely unknown to golf enthusiasts. Worse than that, when he began the tournament earlier in the week, he had no official standing in the PGA. He had a medical exemption because of an injury, but it ran out. To qualify for the tournament, he had to compete for one of four slots in a qualifying round on Monday. Fortunately for him, he made it in.

Because on Thursday, he shot a nine-under par 61 to tie the course record and take the lead. It was a lead he never lost. While the other leaders faltered, he moved ahead to 20 under par, which proved enough to win the tournament. At the age of 37, he had won several times on the Nationwide tour, the Asian tour and the European tour. But this was his first PGA tour victory. And it was a historic victory - the first time an Indian-born golfer had ever won a PGA tournament. Even more amazing, it was the first time in 26 years that a Monday qualifier went on to win.

I watched him play. He's the real deal. Even with the unbelievable pressure of the final back nine tied for the lead with six other players at 18 under, he was composed. Focused. Bold. Creative. Optimistic. Persevering. He played like a veteran.

His heroic Cinderella victory means that he is "fully exempt" through 2012. No more Monday qualifying, and next year we'll get another chance to see if he can bring that kind of game again.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Origin of photo unknown, may be subject to copyright.)


Elizabeth (Beth) Westmark said...

I love these kind of stories. "Heroic Cinderella victory" is the perfect phrase to describe Mr. Atwal's accomplishment. It must have been thrilling to watch.

Unknown said...

it would hav been like d movie...''the greatest game ever played''