Determined Gainey impressive to watch


Three years ago while playing on a sponsor's exemption earned by winning the 'Big Break,' Tommy 'Two Gloves' Gainey entered the final round of the BMW Charity Pro-Am in second place, one shot back of the lead. It was unheard of for an untested, unconventional player. During that final round, Gainey felt the pressure, caught a case of the 'chunks' with his wedges and ballooned to a 77 to finish tied for 30th. Late in the round, I quipped on the air that, 'The gloves are on, but the wheels are definitely off.'

Yesterday, while scorching the course early and being 6 under through eight holes, and holding a two-shot lead, Gainey hit a horrendous drive on the ninth hole that led to double bogey. I thought, 'Here we go again; the wheels might be coming off.'

Even before he pulled it together on the back nine and won in an impressive manner by hitting the best shot of the day to the 18th green to win by one, I already would have categorized him as probably the most determined player on the Nationwide Tour. But his intensity down the stretch was something special to witness, as is the man himself.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that with his self-taught method, he just shouldn't be able to do the things on the course that he regularly does – something I'm sure he's heard behind his back since the beginning. So he's made a career out of proving the doubters wrong, and he keeps doing it, over and over. Others might, but I'm sure he doesn't, classify himself as an over-achiever, but yesterday he overcame a hurdle that's lingered since 2007. Now he knows he CAN win, and I'll be the last to ever sell him short again.