Golf Isn't for Everyone, But it's my Cup of Tee This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It was about 7 a.m. and already a steamy June day, but my air conditioner was keeping me cool. I was so hyper - my family and I were going to the 2002 Greater Hartford Open golf tournament.

This is an annual tournament, and many of the best golfers on the PGA tour participate. My favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson, was the defending champion. Other notable golfers included Davis Love III, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard and David Duval.

Finding a parking space was extremely difficult; survival of the fittest best describes that challenge. There were so many people, it made me dizzy. The heat and scorching humidity became unbearable; my clothes stuck to my skin like a cheap suit. My tongue was as dry as a desert. To enjoy the rest of the day I forced myself to put all discomfort aside and focus on learning from the pros.

In the morning we followed a couple of well-known golfers, but the one I was most interested in seeing was Phil Mickelson. He is incredible, and though he had won many tournaments, he had yet to win one of the four major championships. I believe a person with such

talent will eventually succeed. Also Phil is a left-hander, as am I, which is part of why he is my favorite. But the main reason I like him is that many don't believe he is very good. They always compare him to Tiger Woods and say he will never beat Tiger when it comes down to the last holes. Don't get me wrong, Tiger is an exceptional golfer, but I like to root for the underdog.

We were standing between the sixth and seventh hole when we witnessed the most amazing shot. We were positioned about midway between the tee box and the green, so we could see each player's second shot on both holes. Phil had about a 310-yard drive, as usual. Then he hit the most picture-perfect second shot. The ball soared like a comet. Most golfers can put a lot of spin on the ball, but this shot was unreal. The ball landed on the back side of the green and then spun back toward the hole. The crowd cheered with anticipation as the ball rolled right into the hole! The crowd roared! We were all going crazy. To top it all off, the angle of the cameraman was pointed where we were standing, so there was a really good chance that we were on TV.

How did Phil do that? I wondered. I could never hit a shot like that! What kind of club is he using? I gotta get me a set of those! This shot was the turning point for Phil, and he continued to play exceptional golf.

The finish of the tournament was a thriller. It came down to the last hole and the very last shot between Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III. They both hit spectacular drives. Phil's shot was first because his drive was shorter. He once again had an amazing shot, almost the same as his eagle on the seventh hole. The ball ran inches from the hole, so Phil was left with a three-foot putt for birdie. He made it. Then Love also made a great shot which was 10-15 feet from the pin. My heart was pounding; my blood was flowing like white-water rapids. The crowd watched as Love putted. It rolled and landed an inch from the hole. Phil Mickelson had won his second straight GHO title!

This is a day that will forever be etched in my memory. I was so lucky to experience this amazing event. It was fantastic to witness Phil's day of brilliance where every aspect of his game clicked.

A month later, a friend invited my brother and me to the same course where the GHO is played. This was a dream come true. I was able to golf on the very course that professionals played. It was an incredible feeling to play the hole where Phil scored his eagle. I pictured his shot as I hit my second shot (although my drive was much shorter). Believe me, it looks a lot easier on TV than in real life. That is why this game is so fascinating to me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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starfighter77 said...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 8:46 am
This is an interesting story! Any story about the underdog taking the title is enough to make someone want to read on. It really helps to have an idol out there to root for. I bet it's quite a miracle that Phil made that shot. It's awesome whenever you have a cool expierience like this.
greatest game ever played said...
Feb. 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm
i loved your story esecially the part where phil hit the 310 yard drive which is about my average and then on his seconed shot he made it i mean talk about crazy im also a left handed golfer and i call golf the greatest game ever played.
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