Wednesday, August 28

The Beauty of Golf: When Shane's Captain's Prize Equals Rory's FedEx Cup

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By Michael Kilcourse

Guest contributor Michael Kilcourse is a member of Castlebar Golf Club in Co. Mayo, Ireland.

SO RORY MCILROY, THE SUPERSTAR, wins $15 million and caps off what was a very consistent year of golf. I wonder, though, if you could get him to tell you the absolute truth about how much the FedEx Cup really did mean to him.

After all, it's no secret he wants majors above all else and, let's face it, he doesn't need the millions or billions or whatever unrelatable amount it was.

Just hours before Rory was winning the FedEx Cup, I stood on the patio of my local clubhouse and watched what I considered to be a far more exciting conclusion to a golf tournament, our club's premier competition of the year, the Captain's Prize.

Two hundred and ten golfers started on the first weekend. Eighty-three qualified for weekend two, which eventually came down to a shootout between two guys having the round of their lives.

If, like me, you love your golf and play it at every available opportunity, then very often the €5 taken from your playing partners after winning the fourball can mean more to the club golfer than the $15 million did to Rory. Not sure who once wrote that real pressure was playing golf for a tenner with nothing in your pocket. 

Final round, a 15 handicap knocks it six over for a net 62 and looks certain of victory until the screens in our clubhouse, with live scoring from the course, start to show us the numbers from the round of a nine handicap who has 13 holes played and is still level par. He reaches the 16th, a par 3 right outside the clubhouse. Another par (150 people now watching on with me), still no dropped shots. Pars on 17 and 18 would give a victory of two shots, but a bogey on 17 and the clubhouse holds its breath.

The new challenger emerges over the hill on 18, 100 yards short of the par 5 in two. Unfazed by the large crowd watching on, he knocks it in to 15 feet and holes the putt for a second net 62 on the day, a 36-hole total of 133 and an unassailable lead.

Which meant more:
Rory's FedEx Cup or Shane's Captain’s Prize?

Perhaps that's an unfair comparison or question to ask but let me put it like this. Imagine if Rory finally wins the Masters, his Holy Grail, the one he wants more than anything now in his career. Well, I watched my friend win his Masters, his Holy Grail, last Sunday.

Golf is a game for all abilities, all shapes, makes and sizes, but, more importantly, it is a game that can be watched with equal enthusiasm on the television or out the window of your local clubhouse. 

That's what makes our game so beautiful. It's the only game in the world where €5 can equal $15 million.

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