Sindelar Hits the Mother Lode


There is really no way any of us could have seen this coming. Prior to the Wachovia Championship, Joey Sindelar had played in 11 events in 2004. He had missed six cuts. He had won less than $100,000, which wont even cover the expenses for re-filling the gas tank in the courtesy car back at the airport on Friday afternoon.
Joey Sindelar is 46 years old. He hadnt won a PGA Tour event since 1990. His best finish this season had been a T30 at the Buick Invitational back in February.
There is no way any of us could have seen this coming.
Except for the fact that Sunday was Mothers Day. Joey Sindelar is every mothers son. If he isnt the most pleasant man on the PGA Tour, he is front row center in the team picture.
Joey Sindelar from Horseheads, N.Y., hit the mother lode on Mothers Day when he made two routine pars in a playoff against Arron Oberholser and walked away with $1.008 million.
This was especially appropriate for a man born in Fort Knox, Ky. Thats where the government keeps its gold. Gold is what Sindelar struck Sunday in North Carolina. He birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th holes in regulation while some pretty good players were firing and falling back. He finished ahead of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson, golfs Big Three so far in 2004.
And when it was over somebody asked Sindelar to express his emotion after winning for the first time in 370 events.
Sure, Sindelar said accommodatingly. Without slobbering?
It's a huge thrill, he added. It's incredible. My nerves are tender now and you're welcome to fire any questions of any scope you want.
Thats the way Joey Sindelar always has been. If you want a piece of his time, hes flattered for the interest. If they had let him, he would still be talking about the win that makes him exempt on Tour almost right up to the time he will join the Champions Tour at age 50.
It was hard for Joey Sindelar Sunday. Especially not looking at the leaderboards. I didn't want to know, he said. Because even if I needed a birdie at 17, I'm not in Tiger's world, I'm not in Vijay's word or even Davis's or Phil's where I'm going at that pin at all costs. I'm still laying the groundwork and making sure that college is paid for the kids and all that stuff, and I don't want to go fishing (water hazard) for $150,000 over there to the left of 17.
I would much rather spend 50 to the right because then you've still got to do it on 18. Believe it or not, these are real thoughts. This is going to be just like Cops when you're done watching this. You're going to wonder what is this pro thinking about.
And the $1.008 million?
Thats wild, Joey Sindelar said. I really want to know what my parents are thinking right now. Because my dad delivered mail for 35 years and my mom drove a school bus. That's a stupid amount of money no matter what you do, let alone that. We'll have a lot of laughs about that. It's bizarre.
What his parents must be thinking right now is how neat it was that their son won a golf tournament on the PGA Tour on Mothers Day. What they should be most proud of is how real he was when it was over.
Thats the part all of us who have kept track of Joey Sindelar have seen coming now for a long, long time.
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