When LeBron James races up the court, leaps a few feet in the air and hammers home a thunderous dunk, 99.9 percent of people know they’ll never do something like that in their lives.
It’s the same feeling when Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman uncorks a 105 mph fastball or when Usain Bolt blazes a path in the 100-meter dash. No couch potato looks at those things and thinks, “Why can’t I do that?”
They already know some people are blessed with abilities none of the rest of us will ever know.
Pro golfers rarely inspire that kind of respect. If anything, the most novice golfers believe that only time and money separate them from the PGA tour. The sayings are so common they become cliché.
“If I had their equipment I could do what they do.”
“I’ve hit shots like that before.”
“Let me take off two years and do nothing but play and I’ll be as good as them.”
It goes on and on and on.
Why do part-time golfers think they can be pros? It’s pretty simple – we’ve all hit that one shot that felt like a SportsCenter highlight.
I’m 6-foot-5, but I’ve never dunked a basketball . . . on a regulation rim. I played baseball until I was 15 but my fastball topped out at 75 mph. You could time me running a 40-yard dash with a sundial.
I’m not an impressive athlete by any stretch. Let me get on a golf course and hit one good shot and I believe I'm the next Phil Mickelson.
My game is nowhere close to a pro level – my handicap stays somewhere in the 30s, on a good day. On bad days, I usually lose more balls than holes played.
Even still, there’s always one shot that keeps me coming back to the course. One shot where I could say, “I looked like a pro that time.”
Last week, playing with long-drive king Ryan Williams and the formidable Stern siblings, Will and Nick, it was a rollicking putt that saved my confidence.
Most of the back nine for me was spent watching the rest of my group try to outdo each other – whether it was crushing drives or pin-point iron shots landing next to the flag. While they studied birdie putts, I was usually busy driving to adjacent holes or through the woods looking for my ball.
All that changed on No. 12. After somehow getting my ball to the fringe with five shots, I lined up over a 40-foot bogey putt. It was straight downhill, so I gave it a tap and watched it roll.
It started on its way, curving ever so slightly before angling straight to the hole.
“Get legs,” Ryan said, pleading with the ball to have enough momentum to get to the hole.
A final gust of wind gave it just the push to hit the bottom of the cup. After a quick celebration with my group, I had my shot to come back on.
Look out Tiger. I’m only getting warmed up.