My wifes sister and family have called New Orleans, La., home for the past ten years or so. Now, they cant even call anybody they know. And theyre not in New Orleans anyway.
Obviously, my family is not alone in what has become a national disaster with tragic implications far reaching. At first, they scurried, with their child in tow, to Memphis, Tenn., leaving a car behind and many of their personal belongings. They never imagined it could be so bad. This week theyve driven to suburban Dallas, Tex., where my brother-in-laws company has a disaster relief office. Hes working from there and the family is holed up in a hotel room for the immediate and foreseeable future. Who knows ' Dallas could become a permanent home seeing that they have no idea if their recently built home event exists.
Watching the news this week brings me back to 9/11. Like the terrorist attacks, Katrina didnt happen near my home, but it sure feels like were a part of it. This country is in trouble ' and golf hardly seems like something to get fired up over.
Hey, Im not trying to come across as 'Father Teresa' here. Were all thinking about the folks who are stranded, abandoned or simply grieving about lost family or lost possessions. Im sure as you read this, you too, are probably figuring out how to make a donation to the cause.
This week the streets in Boston are dry and clear ' except for the traffic into the TPC for the Deutsche Bank where Woods visits one of Americas great cities and hopes to knock around some of the games top stars in this Friday-Monday tournament that gets bigger and better every year.
Defending champion Vijay Singh, who trails Woods by nearly six full points in the World Ranking, wont be able to dig into that lead at an event that ends on Labor Day. His withdrawal due to back spasms will let Woods work on padding his lead even further.
To me, though, Labor Day will take on a more important meaning this week. This country has plenty of work to do as the recovery along the Gulf coast begins. Whats sad at this point is that were not yet even to the point where chain saws can begin to cut the fallen limbs from trees that took out power and homes and cars.
Ever feel overwhelmed about tasks around the house that leave you not even knowing where to begin? Imagine how leaders in New Orleans feel. Try putting yourselves in the shoes of those running the government in Mississippi.
Next weeks Solheim Cup will take on a more patriotic feel than it has in the past. America will rally around a team, but that team is playing with a greater sense of pride than ever before. And dont think captain Nancy Lopez isnt aware.
This week, golf is just golf. Its a diversion. Its not life or death. Its not even mildly important. That stuff can wait. There are folks stuck in a dome in either New Orleans or Houston right now that really cant wait. They cant wait to find out what life exists for them when things are safe.
This week, turning to The Golf Channel seems like a 'shame on you' situation. The niche channel that we all love so much is hardly where our hearts should be.
Louisianas tour professionals like Hal Sutton, David Toms, Kelly Gibson, Mike Heinen and others are more important than any tour event. And if you are inclined to want to look ahead to a golf tournament ' then wait til next months Southern Farm Bureau Classic outside Jackson, Miss., or next years Zurich Classic of New Orleans (if it is staged at all.)
Those tournaments will be worth rallying around.
For now, lets keep golf and sport in its proper perspective. Its all just a game. Life itself is a fragile thing right now for many in this country. But I know that you already knew that.
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