Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 44 - Life Without Tiger

July 20 - Despite Tiger Woods being home recuperating from knee surgery, we organized our day around watching the final round of the British Open golf championship on TV. Tiger's place in our hearts was filled in part by 53-year-old Aussie Greg Norman, a champion of 15-years past who inexplicably led after three rounds of a tournament he entered only as a tuneup for the upcoming British Senior Open that he had a realistic chance of winning.

With the action happening in England five hours ahead of us, the TV coverage started at 9 a.m. We watched just long enough to see Norman bogey the first two holes to squander his lead, then went to church to pray for the rest of his round. We got back at about 12:45 and watched the rest of the competition in wonderful DVR-delay mode. After the first nine holes, Norman's main competitor, Irishman and defending champion Padraig Harrington, had faltered a fit, allowing Norman to hold a one shot lead going into the last nine holes of the tournament. The regained lead lasted not at all as Norman made more bogeys to give the lead back to Harrington. For awhile it appeared that Englishman Ian Poulter, the self-proclaimed "next Tiger" with his own marketing company, would best both leaders, but Harrington took over on the last six holes, making three pars, two birdies and a sensational eagle on the par 5 17th hole, where he ripped his 240 yard second shot to within three feet of the hole. Our DVR tape ran out before Harrington could play the 18th, but by then he had a four-shot lead that he couldn't possibly lose. Norman finished in a tie for third, behind Harrington and Poulter, but I don't think he was too disappointed, given that his expectations ahead of the tournament were "nil", and that he could find solace in the arms of his new bride of three weeks, retired tennis star Chris Evert, who looked great for a 50-year-old woman dressed in three layers of clothes. She dressed that way because the whole tournament was played in winds ranging from 20 to 50 mph, sometimes accompanied by a cold rain, making Norman's contention and Harrington's finish even all the more remarkable.

Back to church. We attended services at the First Unitarian Church of Orlando. With their minister newly retired, the service was lay-led. A retired therapist gave an interesting talk on his life experiences with the theme of "necessary but unwelcome change". I always have a great time chatting with fellow UUs, and other congregations appreciate my hymn singing, though they included one hymn that neither they nor I knew. After the service they served a nice vegetarian lunch. We ate a bite and headed home for golf before we could learn about the program that inevitably accompanied the nice meal.

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