Draper Too Good to Give Up

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Touch the paper. Touch it once, touch it twice, touch it three times.
 
It moved.
 
Must touch again. Three more times. No movement but the pressure of the touch wasnt right.
 
Must touch again. Three more times. Nine more times. Twenty-seven more times.
 
These are the actions of someone suffering with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These are the actions of a teenage Scott Draper.
 
Scott Draper
Scott Draper has transitioned from professional tennis player to professional golfer. (Getty Images)
At the age of 18, Draper was a Wimbledon junior doubles champion. He was young, he was decorated, he was very highly regarded in and out of his native Australia.
 
Sometimes, Draper says, expectations, when youre not ready to deal with it, (are) harder than anything.
 
Excessive expectations can bring about stress. Stress can trigger Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
 
Id touch things, whether it was a bit of paper, anything in the room, Draper describes. Once Id cleaned something or found some sort of symmetry in it, Id touch it three times. If it moved or I wasnt happy with the pressure, Id touch it again, in multiples of three ' three times, and then three times three. And then Id do 27, all this weird stuff.
 
Draper was a kid obsessed, compelled and scared ' scared of regurgitating, scared that God was going to make him vomit if he didnt establish perfect order.
 
Draper was also tired ' emotionally, physically. Hed stay awake at night repeatedly touching doorknobs, always in multiples of three; making and re-making his bed; organizing perceived chaos; flipping the light switch off and on.
 
And Lord forbid he bump into something in the dark on his way to bed after finally getting it all just right.
 
'I'd have to re-start the process all over again,' he says.
 
This kind of behavior, labeled 'sinister' by Draper, lasted for nearly nine months. And then, as quickly as it took over his life, the ordeal was over. One night, while lying on his floor, watching TV, he just decided, Enough of this (expletive)! This has got to stop.
 
Went cold turkey, he says, and never did it again.
 
Obsessions and compulsions dont just vanish into the dead of night simply because you want them to; but Draper found a way, with willpower instead of medication, to control it. That, in and of itself, makes Scotts story one of success.
 
But this is just one significant chapter of many in a life well worn over 33 years.
 
A NEW OBSESSION
 
To this day, Draper obsesses; though, now he does so over golf. Golf is a fixation, a passion, and a career.
 
Born in Brisbane and a resident of Gold Coast, Scott traveled this year with his second wife, Jessica, and their now 6-month-old son Jayden to the United States, trying to Monday qualify in Nationwide Tour events.
 
He made it into two tournaments, missing the cut on both occasions. He then gave PGA TOUR Q-school a shot and failed to get out of the first round.
 
Despite all his athletic talent ' and theres a whole heap of it ' things have never come easy for Draper, at least off the hard court. Perhaps because life has given him such a hard time.
 
After corralling OCD, Scott met Kellie Grieg at a tennis tournament later that same year, 1993. They developed a relationship, became a team, and formed a single identity. They went everywhere together, traveling the world as Scott pursued a professional tennis career.
 
'The moment I saw her,' Scott says, 'I couldn't take my eyes off her.'
 
They got married in early 1998. Eighteen months later, she passed away.
 
Kellie suffered from cystic fibrosis, which meant her body produced an excessive amount of mucous which clogged her organs. She required constant care, routine physical therapy, and regular trips to the hospital.
 
Ironically, as Kellies condition worsened, Scotts play progressed. He won a prestigious event at Queens Club for his first and only ATP Tour title. In May 1999 he rose to a career-high 42nd in the world ranking. Two months thereafter, unable to get a lung transplant, Kellies body gave out.
 
Scott had been playing for Kellie. She inspired him to play well. He hoped that his play would inspire her to carry on. He did everything he could to keep from losing, just so he could go home and give Kellie some good news.
 
For a year-and-a-half they were married. For the next year-and-a-half he would grieve.
 
After Kel passed away I hit the brick wall, Draper says. This started to get on top of me.
 
Scott started drinking. He gained nearly 20 pounds, not at all ideal for a professional athlete who needed to be quick of foot. Emotionally, he was an even bigger mess.
 
Id have panic attacks,' he says. 'I was having an identity crisis. I was depressed.
 
This time Scott couldnt just make up his mind that he needed to change his way of life. As evidenced by his ability to beat back OCD, Scott's mental strength was one of his greatest assets. But, this time, his singular focus was to his detriment. All he could think about was his lost life with Kellie.
 
He needed help. He needed a diversion. And he found it in a strange place.
 
The one savior at the time, aside from the love and support of my friends and family, he says, was golf.
 
Scott didnt take his first golf lesson until the age of 25. By then he was already an accomplished professional tennis player, a survivor of OCD, and a depressed widower.
 
I found great peace in getting out on the links ' five hours with friends and just focusing on that little white ball, he says.
 
When Scott was forced to miss the entire 2004 tennis season due to a knee injury, part of his rehabilitation was golf. That year, he won the Keperra Country Golf Club championship. That December, he earned his PGA TOUR of Australasia card via the qualifying tournament.
 
Of course, he was still a professional tennis player as well, so it wasnt long before the two sports clashed.
 
That collision came in January 2005, when Scott, in his typical Type A personality, decided to compete in the Australian Open (a tennis major) and the Victorian Open (an event on the Australasian Tour) the same week.
 
The golf tournament -- his professional debut, nonetheless -- was on the second week of the tennis major. Having only practiced tennis for eight days leading up to the first Grand Slam event of the year, Draper figured he'd never make it to the second half of the fortnight and his schedule would be open. He was sort of right. He lost in the first round in singles, but when Samantha Stosur needed a mixed double partner, Scott stepped in. And they kept on winning.
 
The Friday of Week 2, he woke up at 4:30 a.m. to play golf in the morning and tennis in the afternoon. He missed the cut on the course, shooting 79, but raced over to Melbourne Park in time to advance to the finals. The very next day, he and Stosur captured a Grand Slam title.
 
'I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew sometimes,' Scott says. 'But yet I loved that experience.'
 
Draper played his final professional tennis event in June at Wimbledon, losing in the first round.
 
It was time to focus solely on golf well, almost.
 
In January 2007, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, a tennis star equally talented and tempestuous, asked Draper to be his coach. Draper agreed and led Hewitt to a third-round showing at the Australian Open.
 
The result was empty, and so was the feeling Draper had inside. He didnt want to coach; he wanted to play ' not tennis, but golf. And so he stepped aside.
 
And right into the winners circle.
 
TOO GOOD
 
Two weeks after bidding adieu to Hewitt, Draper won the New South Wales PGA Championship on the Von Nida Tour (the Australasian Tours version of the Nationwide Tour). Trailing by four entering the final round, Scott shot 7-under 65 to win by one for his first professional golf title.
 
The thing that pleased me most was that coming down the stretch, I actually felt more calm than I normally do on a golf course,' he says. 'That gives me a lot of confidence going into the future.'
 
Too Good. Thats the name of Drapers autobiography, which was published this year. The phrase comes from a common tennis term used when someone hits an un-returnable shot.
 
It's also the phrase Draper uses to describe the way he approaches life in the aftermath of Kellie's death.
 
'I realized that what I was doing was not getting me anywhere,' Scott says. 'The way that Kel went about living her life, I'd be disrespecting her memory if I didn't pick up the pieces and just start attacking life the way that she did. And, for me, the answer was 'Too Good.''
 
Scott's latest obstacle involves status. Draper can play in Australia, but he wants to play in America ' against the best. He doesnt expect ' nor does he want ' to be handed anything. He knows that he will have to earn his way onto the PGA TOUR via Q-school or the Nationwide Tour. And, after an early exit in the Qualifying Tournament, hell have to work hard just to play on a semi-regular basis on the secondary U.S. circuit.
 
'Tennis is something that always came easy to me; I was a natural,' he says. 'Some of the things that worked for me in tennis haven't worked for me in golf. It's really been trial and error.'
 
Says his wife Jessica: 'Scott is a totally different person at home than he is when he competes. I saw him throw his racket and I couldn't believe that was Scott. That intensity really worked for him in tennis, but (controlling it) is something he has to work on with golf.'
 
'This is my third year as a pro,' Scott adds. 'I feel like my learning curve has been going through the roof. I'd say I'm getting closer and closer every day to where I need to be. But it's still a work in progress.'
 
Its back to Monday qualifying for Scott Draper, which isnt ideal, but doesnt seem all that bad when you stack it up against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the death of your spouse or depression.
 
Or against all three at once.
 
Too good should be used to describe Scott Drapers resolve.
 
My goal is to be on the PGA TOUR, he says. These Monday qualifiers are a necessary evil ' got to do it to continue the journey. And Im willing to do it.
 
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