In the tours formative years two friends created a golf treasure. One of the men was generally considered the greatest golfer of all time. The other had an idea -create a tournament that would celebrate the masters of the game, one with no sponsors and exceptional care given to the players and the gallery.
The course set-up would create a roster of worthy champions, and the field would be different than other tour events with special invitations given to winners of major championships.
The inaugural event exceeded the impossibly high expectations. The players voted the tournament their favorite and a new standard was set for the fledgling tour. I know - I was there. Im not talking about Cliff Roberts, Bobby Jones and the Masters. Im talking about Lyle Anderson, Jack Nicklaus and the Tradition, now known as the JELD-WEN Tradition.
In the late '80s those two visionaries with a common love for the game poured their hearts into a tournament and created a truly magical week. I was involved for the first 10 events and it was always my favorite week of the year. Thursday through Sunday Ill be in Orlando doing updates, but a small piece of my heart will be in Oregon at the best Champions Tour event of the year.
Why are we so surprised when the unexpected happens?
Its nothing unusual in this sport. Orville Moody, Steve Jones, Catherine LaCoste, Nanci Bowen, Hilary Lunke, Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel. Relative unknowns continue to shock us in majors, yet we waste so much time wondering whats wrong with Tiger? News flash - nothings wrong with Tiger, hes simply human
Order shall be restored in his game and in the game in general when he wins another major. In the meantime, let us embrace the rare stories that have come our way, like that of Tyler and Hilary Lunke being able to afford their mortgage payments and his business school, thanks to her half a million dollar payday at the U.S. Womens Open. Or Ben Curtis wild ride from the tee box to the wedding chapel to seal his nuptials following third-round play at the NEC Invitational, and PGA champion Shaun Micheels early gift to his unborn child, the Wannamaker Trophy and $1.08 million.
Oh, and the gift he received in the form of a backstage pass to see his favorite band of all time KISS! Its been a rockin summer and it should be a riveting fall finish.
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