To most of the non-golfing world the so-called golf gods are mythical creatures and reside only in ones imagination. To any of us who have played the game on a fairly regular basis, they are quite real. Like any other god or gods you choose to worship, you should be humble before them and since they are one set of fickle bastards, they are not to be mocked or toyed with under any circumstances
I’ve been playing the game for upwards of fifteen years now and each time I go out to the course I offer up a silent prayer that they will treat me kindly. Sometimes they respond and sometimes, well, let’s just say I can hear them laughing at me.
Whether it be off the tee, in the middle of the fairway, in the first or second cut of rough, just off the green or on the putting surface itself, I’ve made some of the worst swings that a golfer can make. The minute the club struck the ball all I could do was curse myself as the ball either never got off the ground or was headed for some bunch of trees never to be seen again and yet, the results turned out just fine. I once sunk an eighty foot putt that rolled off the green, into the fringe, back on the green and dropped into the hole. It wasn’t where I was aiming, not even close. I once bladed a chip shot from up close that felt like lightning when it left my club only to have the ball strike the pin so hard it rattled for all it was worth. The ball jumped straight up into the air and plopped into the hole like it had a set of eyes. I’ve hit drives both so far left and so far right that the green might as well be in another zip code but when I got to my ball I’d find that I had a pretty decent angle in and my second shot wasn’t as bad as it looked. I've had shitty shots that have danced over lakes and ponds like stones skimming over the water that wound up safe on the other side.
On the other side of the coin, I’ve made some of the purest contact with a ball only to have it go underground in the middle of the fairway, never to be seen again. I’ve hit lasers that have ricocheted off buildings, trees, walls or any other structure that can be found on a golf course only to have them disappear like a thief in the night. I’ve splashed so many balls into water hazards that at one time I was thinking of investing in some scuba gear to recoup my investment. I've had so many three or four foot putts lip out that its become a running joke and source of profit for many of my golfing buddies.
The golf gods don’t seem to care if you’re a struggling weekend player, amateur hack or seasoned pro. Whether it be at the local dirt track that masquerades as a golf course or some private country club, they are indifferent. Depending on how they’re feeling they make their presence known at the most opportune or inopportune times.
Let’s look at the 2012 British Open. Adam Scott was in the lead when he puts his ball in a fairly shitty lie and has a difficult chip shot on to the green. He takes a couple of practice swings and then wanders up to the green to take a closer look. This takes him an additional seven to ten seconds and as he walks back to the ball some form of nature causes it move and his lie is noticeably improved and he is faced with a much easier shot with no penalty stroke incurred. The gods have smiled upon him.
Flash forward a couple of holes and this same Adam Scott is leading by four strokes with four holes to play. He seems a shoo-in to win his first major in the most prestigious event in golf. What does he do?
Bogey, bogey, bogey, bogey.
It seems as if he has somehow displeased the gods of golf and they have taken their rightful vengeance.
In the meantime, Ernie Els, who started out six shots behind Scott, manages to play the backside in stupendous fashion and finishes at -7. Scott, along with his string of bogies, finishes at -6 and loses the tournament by one stroke.
The golf gods and their impetuous ways have managed to bless one and at the same time inflict their dreaded curse upon another.
Such is life.