Life and Death Ordeal and the Pride Factor


  PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The doctors gave Dicky Pride a 50-50 chance of surviving the surgery, even asking him if he had anything to say to his wife, just in case.
'If that doesn't change your perspective, nothing will,' Pride said.
That operation was five years ago.
He's better now, the gallstone pancreatitis that threatened his life is gone, meaning he can still grind it out on the PGA TOUR. And a final-round 64 at this week's Ginn sur Mer Classic gave him a fourth-place finish, the second-biggest check of his career. It also earned an automatic spot into the final round of Q-school with a shot at keeping his tour card in 2008.
Given the alternative, that's hardly a bad deal.
'It's just absolutely humongous for confidence,' Pride said. 'But I had a lot of confidence, because honestly, I'm hitting the ball as good as I've ever hit it.'
He'll enter the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Classic at the Disney courses near Orlando Thursday 159th on the money list, still with some work to do. The top 125 on the money list get full playing privileges automatically for next season; the top 150 get some privileges and a pass into the Q-school finals.
But the 64 on Sunday at Tesoro Club -- along with a $216,000 check -- gave him a huge boost.
'There is absolutely nothing, nothing, better than seeing putts go in,' Pride said. 'It doesn't matter if you're putting on charcoal. If you see putts going in, that's going to help. And to shoot low scores, that's what you have to do.'
Pride has played in 335 PGA TOUR events in his career; he's finished better than fourth only twice, which made his flawless final round at the Ginn even more memorable.
He eagled the par-5 second hole, sprinkled in three birdies and nine pars over the next 12 holes, then finished with four straight birdies -- making 95 feet of putts in the process -- to vault up the leaderboard.
The birdie barrage added about $100,000 to his paycheck for the week.
That alone is more than he earned in his first 13 starts this season combined.
'I've had a tough year,' said Pride, whose lone career win was at the St. Jude Classic 13 years ago. 'But I think I'm playing better golf and it showed this week.'
Pride's final round ended Sunday before darkness set in at Tesoro Club. He returned Monday morning, just in case, as leaders Daniel Chopra, Fredrik Jacobsen and Shigeki Maruyama finished play.
Chopra birdied the par-5 16th Monday morning to get to 19 under, which is where he finished, one shot ahead of Jacobsen and Maruyama and three ahead of Pride -- who headed home to Orlando in a good mood anyway.
There was a time when frustration over not winning would have gripped him, but now -- having survived a monthlong hospital stay and three months subsisting on a feeding tube -- very little gets him down.
'It's almost like a lifetime ago, but it still affects me,' Pride said. 'It's just one of those things. You learn to appreciate a lot of things, and you go from there.'
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro
  • Full Coverage - Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro