A Christmas Carol

By Rex HoggardMay 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
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MINNEOLA, Fla. ' Thursdays green-grass Christmas Carol unfolded on two continents and featured a vastly divergent cast, but the elements were unmistakable. As if on cue, potential past, present and future marched across golfs stage, each tale unique yet vaguely familiar.
 
Unlike the Hollywood version of Christmas Carol, potential present ' in the form of Irish phenom Shane Lowry ' was first up. At Dublins Westbury Hotel the most recent cant-miss kid moved beyond the amateur ranks to join the work-a-day-world of professional golf.
 
Its easy to Thursday morning quarterback a young mans decision, but then those in glass press rooms should avoid tossing laptops. Just ask Ty Tryon, perhaps the original wee world beater who crashed the PGA Tour party unannounced in 2001 at the age of 17 and almost as quickly became a Trivia Pursuit answer: Who was the youngest Tour player ever to retire for $300, please Alex.
 
On the heels of Lowrys coming out, we caught up with Tryon in the parking lot at Sugarloaf Mountain Golf Club in central Florida where he was playing a U.S. Open local qualifier. Could the one-time phenom offer the newest member of the club any advice?
 
Be true to yourself, said Tryon, but not to the young Lowry. No, that pearl was directed right back at the kid in the visor with the overgrown locks.
 
At a worldly 24, Tryon has grown into the ultimate enigma. The flame that burned so bright should have scorched every amber of love for golf, but on Thursday on the rolling Sugarloaf layout Tryon was pure passion. Just like he was in 2001 when he finished 39th at the Honda Classic and later that fall when he aced the Q-School test to become the youngest Tour member.
 
Tryon hasnt quit the game. Not even close. In fact, judging by the bounce in his step on Thursday hes pulled off the rarest of turnarounds. Hes rekindled his passion and his fire for a game that at one time looked as if it might destroy him.
 
In 2004 on the Nationwide Tour my heart just wasnt in it, said Tryon, whose 70 earned him a spot in a playoff for an alternate spot that he ultimately lost to Eustis Paine. I was dreading going to the golf course at certain times. There were times I wanted to be done with the game at that moment, but I was never done.
 
Perspective arrived about three years ago in the form of a healthy, happy little boy named Tyson. The one-time man child now has a child of his own, and a home and a wife and an identity that doesnt depend on how well hes putting or how far hes hitting his driver.
 
Tryon gave it his best shot in 2008, chasing Monday qualifiers on the Nationwide Tour he logged more than 26,000 miles in his jet-black SUV and almost as many close calls. He played two good rounds at the first stage of Q-School last fall, lost focus on Day 3 and blew up.
 
The old Tyron would have moped for months. But when youve got a 3 year old you cant take your 87s home with you, so he moved on and got a 40-hour a week job at the David Leadbetter Academy at ChampionsGate just outside Orlando, Fla.
 
He wasnt chasing the dream, but he was still in golf. And that was good enough.
 
I dont want to go back out trying to Monday qualify on the Nationwide Tour, Tryon said. Id rather see what its like to be a dad.
 
He hasnt given up on playing professionally. Far from it, in fact. He hopes to play the Tarheel Tour this year and maybe try a couple Monday qualifiers to stay sharp for Q-School.
 
Days like Thursday help. That 70 ' just his second competitive round since his October meltdown at Q-School ' didnt earn him a spot at sectional qualifying, but his birdie-birdie start got his competitive juices flowing and his finish had the 24-year-old version looking a lot like the 16-year-old model.
 
I said I would eagle the last, and I did, he smiled. Its so good to think of your shot, pick a line and pull it off. That gets you excited.
 
As for Lowry, Tryon wouldnt even entertain the thought of unsolicited advice. A man who has been second guessed his entire career has no interest in playing the what if game. If he could TiVo his own explosive career and play a mulligan, however, there is one thing hed change.
 
If I was in the same position again I would have tried to stay a little more true to myself, he said. I should have tried to get better every single day.
 
About an hour before Tryon signed for his 70, Carlos Miguel Fabregas bounded up the stairs to the Sugarloaf Mountain clubhouse, 68 on his card and dreams of Bethpage Black filling his head.
 
The ghost of potential future had an eerily familiar glow to him as he awaited his qualifying fate. Fabregas, 20, is a self-described Leadbetter kid, honed at the renowned instructors academies and bent on professional success. He turned pro last year because, My dads not a big fan of college, so Im not a big fan of college.
 
The bar-stool analyst beckons. When did it become status quo to short change youth? College may not be for everyone, but the question begs: Is it for anyone anymore?
 
And just as quickly the ghost of potential past interrupts.
 
For a year and half I didnt miss a shot or a putt. I had no fear of failure, Tryon said of those halcyon days when he burst onto the Tour scene. But its different now. My perspective has changed. Ive been able to keep the love of the game and be a father.
 
Lost in all that second guessing is the resiliency of youth. Ghosts past, present and future may never reach professional glory, but as Tryon has proven, maybe its more important if they can just stumble into personal glory along the way.
 
Related Links:
  • U.S. Open local qualifying results
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    Rose leads with play stopped in Indonesia; Snedeker withdraws

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.