He won the Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Open, to begin with. That was a jawbreaker. Then the same season ' only his second on tour ' he won the Manufacturers Hanover Westchester Classic, and it took five minutes to get that one out. Next in this 1986 season, he tackled the Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Golf Classic ' and won, naturally.
By the time the PGA Championship rolled around, Tway had run out of vowels. But he hadnt run out of golf shots. One huge bunker hole-out on the last hole sent Greg Norman to the sidelines and won the fourth victory of the year for Tway. My, what a great career was in store for this young man.
If youre looking for the next superstar, there he is, said no less an authority that Lee Trevino. He was talking about the simply named Bob Tway, as quiet and reserved as his name would suggest.
Somewhere between 1986 and 2003, though, Tway's road to superstardom took a most unfortunate detour. He was able to win one time each in the next two years, but then he dropped off to the dark side of the moon. From 1991 to 1994, he was virtually gone. He wasnt too bad in 91, finishing 52nd on the money list, but he then went spiraling into oblivion, finishing 179th, 109th and 149th.
Bob Tway just slowly slipped away from our memories, relegated to a golf trivia question ' who was the first person to hole out to beat Greg Norman?
In time, he stopped fighting it. He had been so brilliant in 86, had slowly changed his swing in an attempt to become even more dominating. The swing was always very handsy, but in trying to change it, Tway became very mechanical.
Then I got mental, said Tway. I started driving the ball bad, and then I reached a point where Id get to a tee and say, Wheres this one gonna go?
In 1995, he had recovered enough to finally win again. And since 95, he has maintained a quiet profile, playing a lot of good tournaments, hovering around the 40-50 spot in the final money standings, but never actually breaking through to a victory. No one said he was a superstar in the making ' only a pretty solid player who couldnt seem to break through.
Until last week. Last week he won the Bell Canadian Open at age 44, and this man from the heartland of Oklahoma City was overjoyed.
This is a very special win, Tway said. Ive been coming to Canada for a long, long time. The reason is, its a national open.
He has worked terribly hard, concentrating on eliminating his weaknesses while maintaining his strengths.
I don't know, I've been struggling with my putting, said Tway. It's funny, I went from - I was using a belly putter earlier in the year. And I was trying to use the most - I don't know, easiest putter I guess or the - I don't know what the right word is. The best technological putter you could have, the easiest to hit and see if that could help me.
I got kind of mad last week. I went to the toughest putter to putt with; that you've got to hit the ball perfectly with it, and I kept practicing with it and I started putting better. My stroke got better. I played great this week. I don't know, maybe things happen for a reason.
Tway is just another good golfer now, but maybe that isnt so bad. In golfing terms, hes middle-aged now. He realizes where hes been ' and hopefully, where hes going.
We all keep working at it because I think we love the game, he said.
The number of tournaments since my last win, I could say I've had some chances and not been able to do it, or someone has played better at the end to end up winning. It takes some luck, good fortune and some good golf.
Like I say, I don't know, maybe this will spur things on for more of them. I don't know what's going to happen. Like I said before, I'm enjoying playing golf, and obviously we play to win tournaments. It doesn't come all that often on the PGA Tour.
It's tough to win. When you do get it, it's very special.