Upon entering the World Golf Hall of Fame earlier this week, Curtis Strange said something that many who have played this game can probably relate to:
“I have been extremely lucky and blessed to play golf. I love this game, and sometimes I hate it. It frustrates us and excites us at the same time. I’ve gone to bed many nights questioning my ability and you wake up the next morning and can’t wait to play.”
The first time I saw Curtis Strange in person was in the mid 1980s at the Tournament of Champions at La Costa outside of San Diego, California. I was leaving as he was approaching the resort course on the opposite side of a driveway. We made eye contact and I noticed that his head turned slightly away and his pace quickened.
I got the impression Curtis thought I might approach him with some kind of request, an autograph or something. I’m no predatorial golf fan, nor an autograph hound, and I continued on my way.
A few years later Strange was the first Tour pro to win $1 million in a single season. Curtis also won two consecutive U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989, a remarkable achievement, the first back-to-back national champion since Ben Hogan in 1950 and 1951. One came in an 18-hole playoff against Nick Faldo.
Strange won a total of 17 events on Tour. He had some Ryder Cup successes -- and a few failures, too.
The new Hall inductee offered a fitting summation of his place in golf:
“I understand I won’t be in the starting rotation on this team, but I will be on the team. That’s enough for me.”
The Armchair Golfer
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