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Andrew can feel his frustrations up rise through his pulsating body as he just missed a testy downhill six footer for par. He slammed his tap in bogey to the back of the cup nearly missing.
“Nice read!” Andrew said sarcastically.
“Well suh, the read was fine it’s your putting that was off line.” The caddie said.
“MY PUTTING?” Andrew asked with fury and rage.
“Why yes suh, with your attitude it’s causing you to play like a damn fool” The caddie replied sharply.
Heading towards the tee box on # 18 Andrew was at even par looking for a birdie to advance in his first U.S. Amateur tournament ever. Jeremiah, Andrew’s life long caddie handed him his driver.
“Andrew swing easy, you can do this. Now it’s about 240 yards to carry those bunkers out there.” Jeremiah whispered.
“Easy does it.” Andrew mumbled.
Andrew took one last good look down the fairway and took his club back with text book form and butter mechanics. He started the club back down unleashing hell, praying for one more good swing on the day.
“Be right!” Andrew yelled.
“Be as good as you look!” Jeremiah added.
The ball bored through the air landing firmly right down the left center of the fairway, just missing the thick six inch rough.
Andrew stood on the tee box watching intently with his hands on his hips “That’ll do.” “Good ball young brother” Jeremiah said.
Andrew and Jeremiah made the long peaceful walk up the 18th fairway thinking about their second shot into the green.
“Andrew we need birdie to advance. The pin is on the back left of the green guarded by a false front. If we miss our spot the green slopes to the water.” Jeremiah said calmly.
“Jeremiah no matter what happens on this next shot, this has been the best week of my life and it has been a pleasure to have you as my caddie.” Andrew said nervously.
Andrew addressed his golf ball with a six iron in hand. He gave the pin one last good look and took dead aim. 181 yards left to the hole Andrew did the unthinkable.
“NO!” Andrew screamed.
“Where is going Andrew? Where? I can’t see because of the sun!” Jeremiah cried.
“It is hooking left towards the water!” Andrew said with a sad look of disappointment.
The gallery roared as they heard the ball splash into the water. Andrew and Jeremiah slowly walked towards the 18th green in disbelief recounting what had happened on Andrews make or break shot. As the two neared the green they saw their first leader board in seven holes.
“Andrew! Andrew! Andrew! ANDEREW!” Jeremiah yelled trying to get his attention.
“WHAT J? WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?” Andrew asked.
“Look at the leader board! Newman just made triple bogie on #17! With an up and down we advance!” Jeremiah answered.
Andrew nodded his head and walked over to the drop area. He stuck his arm out and gently dropped his golf ball around the painted circle. He lightly gripped his sand wedge.
I need to put a lot of spin on this baby. He thought to himself.
Andrew softly hit the ball and caught it perfectly. The ball rolled down the undulating green amongst the many ridges.
Jeremiah suddenly blurted out
“This chip is on a good line. Better than most. Better than most! BETTER THAN MOST!”
The crowd was deafening as the ball made one last break as it died into the side of the cup. Andrew screamed as he tackled his caddie.
“WE ADVANCE!” Andrew said.
He threw his ball to a lucky spectator.
Andrew quietly made his way to the scorers’ tent where his father was there to greet him.
“I knew you could do it son! You played a hell of a round today. Go get ‘em tomorrow. His father said.
“Dad I would love to stay and chat but I need to get out on the range and make some adjustments for tomorrow. I’ll call you later.” Andrew muttered.
Andrew and Jeremiah made their way over to the range. They spent a few hours hitting draws and fades to work the ball a little better for tomorrows round.
“Good work out here today Andrew. I gotta get something to eat and get some shut eye. “I’ll see you in the locker room tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.” Jeremiah said.
“Sounds good J, I’ll be looking forward to it.” Andrew replied
Day two of the U.S. Amateur Championship came around quickly. Andrew made his way down to the locker room to meet his caddie.
“Good morning Andrew. Are you ready for the biggest day of your life?” Jeremiah asked.
“When you put it in those terms, actually no. I am just ready to play another round of golf. That’s all it is.” Andrew replied quickly.
“Are you nervous boy?” Jeremiah asked.
“Of course I am. I feel sick. This morning I couldn’t eat. J, this means everything to me. Professional golf has been my dream since I could walk and I don’t even know if I will succeed at the amateur level.” Andrew replied while putting on his golf shoes.
Jeremiah smiled, “In these past two years that we have been working together, I know that your game is limitless. I know that you can be the best. What I don’t know is how far you are willing to go to achieve that goal.”
Andrew protested, “What if golf is not my destiny?”
Jeremiah pleaded, “We can all choose our own destiny, Andrew.”
Andrew and Jeremiah hit the range and made some minor adjustments before heading over to the first tee box to begin round two.
The starter smiled and faced the gallery, “I would like to introduce to you our 1:30 tee time from Sierra Vista, Arizona, fourth ranked amateur golfer in the country, Andrew King.”
“Mr. King, the tee is yours.” The starter said.
Andrew feeling weak and sick bent down to tee up his golf ball. His legs felt weak and his arms felt heavy. He ripped his club back and made a sorry swing.
Andrew mumbled, “That sucked.”
Jeremiah glared back at Andrew, “Boy if your going to make swings like that all day lets just quit! Get serious now. We will be lucky if we can reach this green on our next shot. This is not the way to start.”
“Are you done?” Andrew asked sarcastically.
Jeremiah threw Andrews golf bag down.
“Boy you have been a stubborn bastard your entire life. I try to motivate you and help you. Some things you have to learn on your own. Good luck. I’ll see you when you get back to the clubhouse.” Jeremiah said sternly.
Andrew chased Jeremiah, “You can’t expect me to make through this round alone!’
Jeremiah kept on walking, “Everyone else is doing it, you will figure it out.
Alone and helpless on the biggest stage of Andrews’s life he just pulled the last straw with the person he trusted most: his caddie.
Andrew addressed his second shot, made another garbage swing and pulled the tee shot left into some atrocious rough. He had to declare an unplayable lie, then he missed the green. Following that came a three putt where Andrew made an eight on the opening hole.
Andrew played eight more holes and made bogy on every single one of them. At the end of the nine holes Andrew was 12 strokes over par and shot 48.
Andrew walked to the edge of the pond on the 10th hole and screamed, “I hate this game!”
Following those words he took his golf bag and tossed it into the Walden Pond.
Andrew collapsed to his knees and cried. “I can’t stand how I have put in a lifetime of hard work for this very moment and get nothing out of it.”
Andrews’s disappointed father walked down to the tenth hole to greet his only child, “Son, this was the most immature display I have ever witnessed. I am sick that I just witnessed my SON act like a two year old on national television. GET YOUR ASS OFF THIS FAIRWAY! NOW!”
“I’m sorry dad, I’m sorry!” Andrew cried.
“You don’t have what it takes for Pro golf” His father growled.
“I’m not good enough” Andrew pleaded.
Andrews father snarled, “Your not game enough”
Andrew pushed his father, “The only thing you wanted was for me to live your dream.”
His father socked Andrew in the nose, “GET UP TOUGH GUY!”
Andrew lay on the ground sobbing, “I hope I never see you ever again.”
Andrews’s father had one last thing to say, “I don’t care about you, or your golf game, or how you get back to Arizona. You might not like me, but you will respect me.”
Andrews’s father strolled off the golf course.
Andrew returned back to Arizona State and quit the golf team. His father quit paying his tuition so in order to pay his way through college he got a job as a waiter. Andrew didn’t really hate the game of golf. He lost his fire and passion to compete against the best in the world. He vowed to never become an image of his father
Golf did teach him two life lessons that he will carry with him for the rest of his life
Play it as it lies.
Do what is right.