I’ve heard of miraculous recoveries, but this might top that list.
This past week in a European Tour event, the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, Louis Oosthuizen withdrew from the event’s Wednesday pro-am because of kidney stones. He went to the hospital because of the pain associated with the stones and gave serious consideration to withdrawing from the tournament.
But instead he decided to tee it up on Thursday and somehow managed to put up a bogey-free, 9-under 63 to take a three-shot lead after one round. Four birdies on the front, five on the back, a single shot off the course record, that’s quite a day.
I’ve never had kidney stones (knocking on wood), but I know people who have. I’m told it’s a very painful affliction and it certainly sounds like Oosthuizen made quite the recovery.
I do wonder if this might have something to do with PGA Tour players’ general disdain for Pro-Ams. Not saying this was a made-up excuse but it does raise an eyebrow for me.
Oosthuizen shot 72 in the second round.
We marvel at the high level of golf that’s being played on a variety of levels these days. Just sit down and check out the shots that are being hit these days. Of course, equipment these days helps, but these players are just better period.
What else is improved tremendously over the years is the way this great play has been rewarded. Back in 1988, Curtis Strange was at the zenith of his career. He was about to become a two-time U.S. Open champion and became the first PGA Tour player to earn $1 million in a season.
Compare that today when 112 professionals won over $1 million last year and 13 players won that much through nine events of this season.
Mind-boggling, isn’t it?
I ran across some numbers this week and thought they were interesting enough to be part of this column.
Numbers relating to the Tour’s annual money list:
n Tiger Woods, in 1997, becomes first player to cross $2 million in a season.
n Woods breaks $3-, $4-, $5- and $6-million barriers by earning $6,616,585 in 1999.
n One year later, Woods breaks $7-, $8- and $9-million barriers by earning $9,188,321.
n In 2004, Vijay Singh becomes first player to break $10 million.
n In 2015, Jordan Spieth sets a new Tour standard with $12,030,465 (still the record).
n Woods holds the record for most money titles with 10.
n n n
I’m surprising myself a bit by finding myself about to include Woods in another of my columns. He somehow continually finds himself in the news and he was there again this week.
As part of his position as being the captain (and most likely playing captain) of the U.S. team in next month’s Presidents Cup in Australia, Woods is required to do a lot of media appearances.
This week Woods appeared on an Australian radio show and, as he has done many times on the course, caught plenty of attention with some of his language.
He was asked about his retirement and he said, “For me, it’ll be simple. I love spearfishing. I love being in the water, I love hunting. I like going on hunting trips, fishing trips and diving trips so to me, just being out in nature is the fnnning ultimate best.”
The beat goes on and on and on for the man who once ruled the kingdom of golf and continues to be the player who stirs the PGA Tour’s drink even at age 43.
n n n
Do you have an interesting story about your club or course or an individual who has done something special? Let me know. Send your story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Dudurich is a freelance golf writer and hosts The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan, Saturday mornings from 7-8 during golf season. Follow Mike on Twitter at @Mike Dudurich.