JABONG! The human side of golf

Nelly Korda is human in as much as Yuka Saso is Filipino. Three weeks after that big win of Yuka in the Ladies US Open in Pennsylvania,USA, Pinoy golfers are still in euphoria over that historic moment.

It proved only two things. Even the top golfers in the world had their off days and a Fiipino can stand her ground side by side against the world’s best.

What caught the attention of many golfers including this writer was the score “10” written on the scorecard of world’s number one lady golfer on a major. I tried to squint my eyes for a while to check after catching their flight in the back 9. Lo and behold it was indeed a 10 and as per Korda’s pronouncement afterwards “I am only human.”

Now golf is really one of the hardest sport to master that even the world’s top golfers can’t give an assurance every time they compete that they will win. Too many factors to consider that we ordinary weekend golfers find it hard to fathom so we just include luck as the biggest factor that defines our playing great or winning tournaments.

Tsamba or the planets aligned is the usual mantra after a win. That’s how humble we are Filipinos every time we played great, won some bets or win tournaments. Rarely somebody would boost that his winning is because of his being able to finally discovered the holy grail of golf and mastered the game itself. It is a mortal sin or a jinx the moment you sway into that direction and away from the narrative of winners.

We Filipinos celebrate itself for Yuka’s win. Yukan do it as they say. But majority of the international papers focused on the debacle of Korda and the rest of the world’s top 10 who failed to make the cut. They were human after all and just like us ordinary golfers they too have their bad days but the comparison stops there. They can always bounce back on the following week and their faults corrected while us ordinary mortals have to rely on YouTube, driving range and array of advices from our fellow struggling golfers. Isn’t it cute?

As we brace ourselves this middle of June on our LED TV for the next majors of the year, expect the unexpected once more since the battle for this year’s Men’s US Open will be in the brutal Pinehurst Number 2 in North Carolina. Greens are described as inverted cereal bowl but more aptly described by defending champion Wyndham Clark as “Borderline”. Borderline unfair, borderline too fast, borderline too undulating for the firmness they’re playing and confusing. Welcome to the 2024 US Open Golf.

The humanity of golfers will be tested again . Expect marquee names in the cut list after being humbled by this brutal game we love to hate. Expect the separation of the men form the boys, of the gods from the ordinary mortals but give premium to the golfer having enough reserve for patience, stamina and a factor of luck to outlast the pretenders.

Take your pick fellas as what my podner Al Mendoza would always say.

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