He advanced it closer to the green and very fortunately for Joe, it stopped just inches short of the two-foot-long hay. In the meantime Tait proceeded to hit it within birdie range--roughly 20 feet (or 6 1/2 meters Down Under). After Joe pitched to about eight feet, Tait calmly delighted the crowd by running home the birdie. Remember, be careful what you wish for.
Now, finally, Joe Ogilvie had the chance to truly test himself when it mattered most. One putt to win.
As is always the case, Joe wasted absolutely no time. Quickly, and just as calmly, Joe Ogilvie passed the test and stood high above the rest when he delivered a heart-felt victory speech that included a little of everything and a mention of his new baby girl at home, the great hospitality, and the course. He also congratulated Shane Tait. Tait didn't know it at the time, but even more congratulations were in order.
Tait also earned playing priveledges on the Nationwide Tour. A new policy implemented just this year allows for special membership if a player earns enough to equal the 70th place money earner the previous year. He did, and after a few lean years, the soon-to-be dad now has the chance to play all year and ressurect his career. From heartstopper to heartwarmer.
In 1998, Joe Ogilvie won twice and ended the year third on the money list. He graduated to the PGA Tour and he was full of confidence. While he was learning his way on the main tour, he somehow lost way. In 2002, Joe's fourth year on tour, he finished 216th in money and was left with just minimal playing status on the Nationwide Tour. Actually, Joe was also the beneficiary of a new policy.
A new category created for past champions allowed for players like Joe to have conditional status at the bottom of the list. This is why the exemption was necessary. But in the end, the very dramatic end, things worked out perfectly for both combatants.
Joe Ogilvie is now virtually a lock to finish the year in the top 20 (also a new policy) and graduate to the 'first' tour. And Shane Tait, at a very exciting time in his life, gets to dream again.
2003 is off and running on the 'second tour', and if the venture, or adventure, to Adelaide is any indication, then buckle in. It just might be a wild ride.