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Rub of the Green

July 1, 2007

Rub of the Green: Majors turn up some serious surprises

What on earth is going on? We’re half way through golf’s 2007 major season and the winners have not been the ones the experts have told us they would be.

Let’s face it. The Masters and the U. S. Open should have gone to a couple of players whose first name was Tiger, Jim or Phil. The present scenario takes me back to 1955 when Jack Fleck won the U. S. Open in an 18-hole playoff with Ben Hogan. Jack couldn’t break 80 in practice, in fact, Ben gave him a set of Hogan clubs to help him out.

Where do these dark horses come from? How does a long shot jump up and win a U. S. Open? Well, these guys, Zach Johnson and Angel Cabrera, may not have been household names, but you can be sure of one thing, they are superb and capable players who, when their respective times rolled around, were ready and willing to grab the golden ring.

I’ve always admired the underdog, the fighter who gets off the floor and comes back to win; the tennis player who is one point away from losing the match, but still finds it within himself or herself to struggle to a victory.

Take a look at Cabrera, an elementary school dropout who had to quit and go to work to help his family survive. A dark horse contender? No way, just an outstanding and gifted player whose time came to stand up and be counted in the U. S. Open, and stand tall is what he did.

Angel certainly deserved his win as Zach Johnson did at The Masters. Each should have all of golf’s accolades directed their way. After all, each was the best at the time it counted and it doesn’t get any better than that.

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