Monday, February 15

A Taylor Made Comeback


That would be Vaughn Taylor, a former PGA Tour winner and U.S. Ryder Cup team member whose struggling game in recent years has taken him to far flung destinations and dropped him to 447th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was Phil Mickelson's tournament. Phil hadn't won since the 2013 Open Championship and held the 54-hole lead at Pebble Beach, where he has racked up four victories. That five-foot birdie putt on the 18th green to force a playoff was money. Lefty hadn't missed one of those all week.

But it lipped out.

Wow. Phil hit a good putt. That's too bad. Then you read about Taylor's journey and it doesn't seem so bad.

Vaughn Taylor, 39, hasn't won on the PGA Tour in 11 years and wasn't expecting to win on Sunday. All he wanted was a chance to play after being hooked up to an IV in Bogota, Colombia (at a Tour event), due to a stomach virus. Taylor flew directly from Colombia to Pebble Beach because it was cheaper than stopping off at home. Without a PGA Tour card, Taylor hoped to get into the field as an alternate.

Thus began a sequence of events that led to a surprising miss by a Hall of Famer on the final green and an unlikely comeback victory by a soft spoken journeyman.

Taylor, who nearly lost his life in a boating accident in August 2014, made up six shots in the final round with a 65.

"It was magical out there," he said.

Now, for the first time since 2008, Taylor will return to his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, to play in the Masters. It's been a long road back, filled with a whole lot of hardship, but also with a little bit of magic beside the Pacific.

No comments: