Last week, Utah golfer Mike Reid shot a course record 62 at the Texas Open in San Antonio. He picked up a check for nearly $70,000, then left town with a smile.
Yet if you know Reid at all, you know he was already smiling when he arrived to play.Reid has been knocking around in the middle of the pack at most golf tournaments this summer. So he was tickled to do so well.
And I was tickled for him.
Mike and I are working on a book together.
And after working with him for two years, I can tell you this. The most valuable weapon he carries with him on tour is his amazing attitude. He has a sunnier outlook than Ronald Reagan.
One day on the tour, Mike says, he was beginning to go into a funk. He wasn't playing well. He was getting discouraged. He was on the verge of pouting. Then, he says, he heard a voice from the gallery.
It was his wife's voice.
And she was singing.
She was singing: "No one likes a frowny face, change it for a smile . . ."
He says he laughed out loud and went on to have a fine tournament.
When Mike told me that story, the only thing that seemed more remarkable than Randolyn Reid crooning to a golf gallery was Mike Reid actually going into a pout.
I still can't picture either in my mind.
Just before his flight to San Antonio where he'd shoot his 62, Mike and I met at the Salt Lake airport to discuss our book. Like a lot of pros today, Mike's had some trouble with sponsors. He's concerned about landing exemptions and he doesn't know how long his skills will hold up.
But as we spoke, none of that showed up in his voice.
All you could hear was honest, upbeat optimism.
I recorded part of our conversation.
"I think everyone searches for that elusive perfect shot, or that one perfect day," he told me. "But we all know that such things won't bring us back to play. What attracts us, I think, is the purity of the game itself. On the tour I often wonder `how' to play the game, but never about `why' I play it. I play because I love the purity, the clarity of it.
"On the way to the airport today, I saw a guy at Fore Lakes practicing in the rain. If he takes the course today, maybe he'll play well, maybe he won't. Maybe he'll hit one shot that will be just right and he'll say to himself, `That's why I play the game.' It's why I play the game. I play for that one moment when everything is as close to perfect as you dare hope.'
Mike Reid's 62 was as close to perfect as you dare hope.
And you can't shoot 62 if your head's full of doubts and your chin's dragging. If you think it is, you don't much know the game.
Just as those who were shocked to see Reid come out of nowhere to shoot that 62 don't know much about Mike Reid. When he steps on that first tee every week, he's excited.
He's excited, because he knows there's a 62 out there somewhere waiting for him.
Last week, it was waiting at the Texas Open.