WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – 'I don't believe what I just saw.'
Those were Jack Buck's famous words on the radio call of Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series. Those words match my feelings after Stuart Appleby shot his 59 to win the Greenbrier Classic.
There will be a number of sports fans who will say it is crazy to equate these moments. I completely agree, on the surface. But the backstory makes this moment unforgettable. And unbelievable.
First, it is the event itself. This tournament did not exist 18 months ago. Things just don't move that fast on the PGA Tour. But, in part because of the force of nature that is Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, they pulled off a tournament that gave a sense of pride to the people of West Virginia. We had a chance to speak to a great number of folks while we were here and many of them asked 'What did you think of West Virginia?' They care about making a good impression.
They didn't have to worry.
Second, their inaugural champion is one of the best stories on Tour. If you don't like Stuart Appleby, you hate Christmas and puppies. He has come through tragedy with grace and emerged from a career drought with patience and faith that his game would return. He was as calm last year when fighting for his Tour card as he was in victory Sunday.
Finally, did you see the way this tournament ended? I know it seems that 59s grow on trees in golf these days but they don't. It is only the second time this has happened in the final round. It takes a once-in-a generation player to win the career Grand Slam. More players have won each of the four majors than have shot 59 on Sunday to win a golf tournament.
And those of you who would diminish the feat because the course was 'easy' why didn't anyone else shoot the magic number? The conditions were perfect to shoot a great score. All the players knew that. But one man was able to shoot the score of a lifetime. Fittingly, he was the man who lifted the crystal trophy at the end.
I don't believe what I just saw. But I am so glad I was able to see it.