LAKE FOREST – Let me take a wild guess: You are bad at golf.
Hey, don’t feel ashamed. I am bad at golf, too. Ridiculously bad.
But these guys? The ones playing in the BMW Championship at Conway Farms?
They are good at golf. Ridiculously good.
Take Jim Furyk, for example. You know his story by now. On Friday, the 43-year-old Pennsylvania native shot a 28 on the front nine – a 28!!! – and a 31 on the back nine to become the sixth golfer in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59.
It’s not just Furyk, though. Everywhere I looked this week, unbelievable golfers were launching beeline drives, lofting gentle wedge shots, tapping perfect putts.
None of this seemed fair.
Please, someone, anyone. Tell me you are bad at something.
“There’s a lot of things I’m still bad at,” said Jason Dufner, who won his first major last month when be held off Furyk to take the PGA Championship. “I’m awful at billiards. I don’t play it. I’m pretty bad at bowling. I don’t bowl anymore.”
I was feeling a little bit better.
But Dufner is a nice guy, an everyman, an insta-friend to those who meet him.
How about some young hotshot?
Jordan Spieth, who recently turned 20 years old, is one of golf’s rising stars. He became the youngest winner on the PGA Tour in more than 80 years when he won the John Deere Classic this summer near the Quad Cities.
Hey, kid. Tell me you are bad at something.
“I grew up playing all sports,” Spieth said. “So, yeah, I obviously wasn’t great at any of the other ones. That’s why I’m only playing this one now.”
This sounded like a lie. Those who struggle in gym class don’t end up settling for careers as professional golfers. Otherwise, most of us would be professional golfers.
I was feeling worse.
Spieth offered a more specific example.
“I wasn’t great playing outside linebacker when I was really young,” Spieth said. “I loved offense a lot more than defense. I never really could get in the right spots or read the cuts. I fell out of the defensive lineup pretty easily.”
Yeah, but Spieth grew up in Texas. That place is filled with great football players.
If he had grown up in some other state, he could have been a star linebacker.
“I still wouldn’t have been good,” Spieth said. “I promise.”
I was feeling better again.
So maybe golf drives me crazy. So maybe golf makes me feel like a little kid trying to ride his bike for the first time. And falling down. And falling down. And falling down.
“Golf is a game that is going to drive you crazy at any given point,” Rory Sabbatini said.
Even for pros?
“Oh, yeah,” said Sabbatini, a six-time PGA Tour winner who has earned millions in his career. “It’s like anything. It’s a game that cannot be perfected, so the challenge in it is trying to deal with the imperfections.”
D.A. Points agreed. Points was born in Pekin and attended the University of Illinois before he embarked on a long, lucrative career on the PGA Tour.
Even now, Points said, golf could drive him crazy.
“Sure,” Points said. “But it’s my job. Everybody’s job drives everybody crazy. It just comes with the territory.”
And when golf isn’t your job, it’s an escape.
That’s the beauty of the game for people like us.
“The great thing about golf is you can get out and enjoy your friends,” Dufner said. “The handicap system can make it fair for everybody. You can have matches with guys that are really good players or guys that are a little bit better, a little bit worse.
“The other sports, you’re kind of on your own to be bad at.”
Yes, I definitely was feeling better. Maybe it was possible to be bad without getting mad.
• Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @tcmusick.