Heavy-hearted Smith returns to golf

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Lost in the saga surrounding Tiger Woods last week was the return of Chris Smith to the PGA Tour at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Just eight months ago, Smith’s world was permanently altered, irreparably, in an instant.

Chris lost his wife, Beth, in a car accident in which his two children were critically injured. Abigail, his 16-year-old daughter who was driving the car spent several months in a wheelchair mending her injuries, while her younger brother Cameron suffered severe burns and also spent months recovering.
Chris Smith and father
Chris Smith and father at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. (Getty Images)

Perhaps time heals all wounds, but most of us couldn’t possibly imagine that to be true in this case. However, Chris was in very good spirits last week, although one look into his eyes and you could tell the depth of suffering he’s been through. The one-time, happy-go-lucky, dedicated family man is now a dedicated family man who’s soul bears an unimaginable burden.

“The kids are doing great,” Chris said. 'They’ve responded incredibly physically and emotionally.

“It’s great to be back out here but this might be my only chance to play this year. I’ve got way too much to do at home to worry about playing golf.”

Chris admitted to being a little weary about the repeated questions from his friends on his first return to the Tour, but admitted that he understood everybody’s concern. He is, and always has been, one of the most liked personalities on Tour.

With his father serving as caddie, Chris came within a shot of playing on the weekend, and for just two days anyway, got to experience those “normal” feelings of being in the arena that was once his life.

So while Woods receives his therapy for a monumental lack of self-discipline, Smith returns to doing laundry, cleaning dishes, driving the kids to school, grocery shopping and most importantly, being the best parent he can possibly be. He says that he knows he needs to be there for his kids above all, and although his return to competitive golf is also uncertain, it’s that way because of his selflessness and conviction. 

To those who know him, it’s always been evident that Abigail and Cameron have always been the most important thing in his life. A life that may never be the same, but a life which he’ll never stop trying to improve for his children.