04/24/10 Weekend Grif.Net – Women Win at the Masters

04/24/10 Weekend Grif.Net – Women Win at the Masters

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It’s not often women win the Masters Golf Tournament, but they did Sunday.

Actually, Phil Mickelson won, but for millions of women around the country,
it must feel like a victory.

Mickelson, in case you forgot, is the guy who stayed true to his wife. He’s
the guy who’s been missing tournaments the last 11 months while he flies
her back and forth to a breast cancer specialist in Houston. He’s the guy
who didn’t need reminding that women are not disposable.

Also winning Sunday: karma, which proved to be alive and well. And guys who
never had a temper in the first place. And endings that make you wipe your
tears on the couch pillows.

Mickelson is the guy whose heavy head on the bed pillow lately wasn’t
self-inflicted. Both his wife, Amy, and his mother, Mary, have breast
cancer. Usually, those two are at every tournament he’s in, but for the
last year they’ve been fighting, resting, and fighting again at home. And
Mickelson has gone back to his rented homes alone.

So when Amy turned up on the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National for the
first time in 11 months and Mickelson practically fell into her outstretched
arms, you wanted to hug somebody yourself. Mickelson hugged and cried. And
his wife hugged and cried. And his coach and his caddy hugged and cried. And
10 minutes later, the caddy was still crying.

This is way beyond golf, this is about a guy who loves his wife and would
never cheat on her. This is about a guy who had a really hard year. Twenty
years from now, nothing will compare with this. This is his greatest win, by
far. Because of Amy, because of his mom, everything. God bless all those
women that go through what Amy and Phil’s mom have gone through. Because
I’ve seen it and it ain’t easy.

“Of all the majors I’ve been involved in,” said Mickelson’s coach, Butch
Harmon, “be they with Tiger, Phil, anybody, this is the most emotional by
far. This year has been a big, big strain on him. His game has suffered.
What he really wanted was to be home with his family.”

You figured a guy who came into this Masters having played only seven
tournaments this year — and never placing better than eighth in any of them
— would have a snowball’s chance. But something melted in him when his wife
and three kids showed up for the first time in nearly a year on Tuesday. “He
just had this peace to him that I haven’t seen in awhile,” said Bones.

Amy was still hurting, so she wasn’t able to come to the golf course, but it
was close enough. Each morning, Mickelson would take his oldest, Sophie, to
a local coffee shop and play chess for an hour. At night, the whole brood
would watch dumb movies. Mickelson came through that door each night after
work like it was Christmas morning. You don’t know how dispiriting it is to
come home after a long day to a strange, empty house. Come to think of it,
maybe Tiger knows.

“It’s been tough,” Mickelson said. “The meds that she’s been taking have
been very difficult and she didn’t feel well and she doesn’t have energy and
she’s not just up for a lot. But to have her here, man.”

Amy Mickelson attended a golf tournament for the first time since last
year’s Players Championship.

Amy Mickelson is the kind of walking rainbow that could put a smile on a
mortician’s face, so when she showed up, everything started looking up. The
golf gods started raining favors down on Mickelson’s curly hair. On
Saturday, golf balls started going into tiny little cups from great
distances. Sunday, it got even better:
At 9: ball hits tree, bounces back into fairway. Par.
At 10: ball hits tree, bounces back into playable territory. Par.
At 11: ball hits fan, bounces into short, happy grass. Par.
“Got an assist there,” Mickelson said.
Did the guy say anything? “Ouch?” Mickelson guessed. The big lefty took
it from there.
At 12: looked into his “book of reads” for the 20-foot putt — the
green-studying book that Bones and he spent “days and days” putting together
on a trip this year to Augusta — and buried it. Birdie.
At 13: pulled off the most audacious, swashbuckling shot of his life —
from the right woods, off pine straw, through two trees (4 feet apart), over
Rae’s Creek, from 207 yards, to 3 feet. Two-putt birdie.
At 15: smashed an 8-iron from 205 yards — yes, 8-iron to 15 feet for a
2-putt birdie.

Suddenly, the guy who’d spent a career being eaten alive by Woods had left
him 5 shots behind. It was only a matter of lag for par, lag for par,
10-foot birdie and get the Kleenex ready. “I saw Amy just before I putted,”
Mickelson said. “That was so great. I mean, I didn’t know if she would be
there. To walk off the green and share that with her is just very, very
emotional. We’ll remember this the rest of our lives.”

Contrast that with Woods, who spent the week reverting to form — acerbic
answers, sprayed swear words, and curt interviews. He finished fourth, which
shows that the golf game is very close. The personality makeover, though,
looks like it needs some work.

Soon enough, though, Woods will win tournaments like this, pass Nicklaus,
and order will be restored in the universe. But for this one Sunday in a
flower-stuffed pocket of Georgia, the good husband, the good son, the good
man actually got rewarded.

Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”