What would have been news ' gigantic news ' was if Esteban Toledo had won. Toledo has always sworn that he will quit the day he wins. Im waiting to see if he really does.
Toledo is hedging a little now. He says his wife isnt exactly pleased that he would quit at the height of his greatest accomplishment. He owned up to the iffy business Saturday when there was still a chance he might do it ' if you can call being a shot behind Tiger Woods on the final day a chance.
I dont know what I am going to do if I win or not, said Toledo the night before his most important day ever on a golf course. I told a lot of people that I will quit this game if I win. My wife doesnt agree with that because I have got to feed the family, but I dont know.
I want to win. And if I win, I go to the PGA ' hopefully if my wife lets me. And obviously my wife is more important than this game, and whatever she tells me to do, I will do.
But Esteban did not win, so his threat is still safe. If he wins, he quits ' maybe. Or maybe he wont. Hes 39 now, he was 36 when he first said it, and he might have reservations about it now.
Its not like I dont have anything left in this game, but its just I want to spend time with my family, he explained. So I am not into playing more golf ' unless my wife gives me the green light to go and then I will go.
One wonders if Mrs. Toledo will approve. Esteban is a very serious man, not much into joking. But he hasnt ever come this close to a victory, and when it actually appeared that he may have to put up or shut up, Esteban backpedaled a little. He may not actually do it, of course, but that is just the way he felt.
Hes from a poor family in Mexicali, Mexico, who learned to play golf while working at a driving range. The home he shared with 10 other children (hes the youngest) had dirt floors and no plumbing. Toledo was a boxer for four years in the 135-pound class, and he actually had a 12-1 record, but a bout with appendicitis changed all that. He discovered he was a pretty fair golfer, turned pro in 1986, played extensively on the Buy.Com (then Nike) Tour, and finally got his PGA Tour card for good in 1998.
Toledo has always been a journeyman ' which is to say he is tons better than any of us, but not good enough to really challenge for a title at this level. Maybe thats about to change, maybe not. He has played in the range of 35 tournaments a year, 36 last year, which tied him for the title of the tours busiest man. And ' he has made almost $3 million since he joined the Nike Tour back in 1990.
Of course, Toledo has to pay his expense out of that ' in the neighborhood of $100,000 per year if he is trying to poor-boy it, a little more if he is interested in sleeping well at night. Say he has spent $1.5 million just being a golfer. That means he has had about $1.5 million to live on the past 13 years ' a comfortable income. He is building a church in Mexicali by himself, so that eats into what is left. Not much for Mrs. Toledo to splurge on, obviously. Sounds like Esteban will be playing a few more years, regardless if he should win or not.
As for Tiger ' well, what is there left to say? He played like a Tiger the first two days, like a frustrated tabby the last two. But that was more than enough to win No. 33. When he wasnt really on, he just relied on his putter and that, predictably, bailed him out time and again. The announcers said he was playing a most un-Tiger-like round, and he still shot 70.
That was plenty to put down Mickelson, Goosen, Toms, Toledo ' whomever. He won it by, oh, just four. He continues to amaze, as much when he is just going on guts as when he is hitting one striper after another.
Toledo? God bless em, he had a great week. Mrs. Toledo probably wont let him quit, even if he should win. He has to feed the family, remember, and he can do nothing else that puts as much food on the table. Expect to see Esteban for many years to come.