One of the best things about my job as a professional golfer is the fact that no matter how good or bad you play, there is always next week. It is amazing how fine the line is between success and failure. For example, a few weeks ago Phil Mickelson did not play well in the Shell Houston Open but WON the very next week at the Masters! The next week, Jason Bohn tied my glorious first round score of 77 at Hilton Head and eventually missed the cut. He WON the very next week (last week) in New Orleans! It is hard to explain but certainly a bounce here or a putt made there can make all the difference in the world. Success and failure in the world of golf is only one shot away. I know that I am hard on myself but I expect only the best. I breakdown and analyze each round and shot to the fullest extent so I can hopefully learn and improve. However, at the end of the day, no matter the score, I know I am close to seeing the results that I am working so hard to achieve.
As the tournament in Hilton Head came to a close, I began to worry about whether I could make it back in time to see the birth of our daughter if Beth happened to go into labor while I was in New Orleans. With her doctor in Savannah, Hilton Head would have certainly been an easy trip, no matter what time of day or which hole I was playing. However, the week ended with a few contractions but no trip to Savannah and the hospital. Birth is impossible to predict and I was uncertain as to whether I even needed to travel to New Orleans and compete in the Zurich Classic. However, Beth assured me that they would be okay and that I needed to go and play. To make my life even easier, Boo invited me to fly with him on a private jet so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the possibility of canceling a commercial flight if Beth went into labor. I am very lucky to have such good friends in my life and I appreciate the kindness that he showed. We left Harbor Town and went to the tiny Hilton Head airport where the runway was full of private jets. We pulled up next to the plane in our courtesy car and boarded. This was certainly a lot better than the hassles that come with flying commercial. We flew to New Orleans and walked off the plane to find a courtesy car parked right next to us. Not a bad way to travel! On Tuesday, I took my first half day off of the year. Boo and I were guests of the Zurich Classic on a chartered boat where we went red fishing. We had a blast and I ended up catching a ton of fish, including one that was over 29.5 inches long. Beth called on Wednesday morning and said that her doctor wanted to induce labor on the following Tuesday. This was a relief because it guaranteed that I would be at our daughter's birth, unless of course, she decided to arrive early! On Thursday, my cousin Collin Doss, came over from the University of Alabama and spent the week at the tournament. That evening, I carried him to a private party for all the PGA Tour players at the famous Acme Oyster House. They closed the doors to the open public and let us order anything from the menu free of charge. We had a great time and the food was incredible. Unfortunately, the golf didn't turn out as well as the fishing or the restaurants during my stay in New Orleans. I hit the ball decent enough but another cold putter left me high and dry. I missed the cut but there was a bright side, Beth didn't go into labor. I flew home Sunday morning and got to spend some time with the family before heading off to Charlotte early Monday morning.
Monday morning began a very long week full of mixed emotions. I woke up bright and early and headed to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a Pro-Am at Quail Hollow. With Beth delivering on Tuesday, my plan was to play the course on Monday and as soon as I finished, leave immediately for Savannah. If everything went okay at the hospital, I would return to Charlotte late Wednesday night in order to play on Thursday. Obviously, the health of my family is, and will always be, my main concern and priority. Golf is a job and I will never let a tournament take precedence over them. I arrived at Quail Hollow and was welcomed by an incredible clubhouse, golf course, gifts, and a fancy courtesy car. The practice facilities are top shelf and the course is no exception. It is long and difficult and the greens are extremely fast. Obviously Beth couldn't make the trip, but regardless of her presence, the tournament gave every player a bracelet from Tiffany's for their wives. In addition to the red carpet treatment, I received a brand new Mercedes Benz with only 35 miles on the odometer. This is without a doubt the nicest car I have ever driven. As soon as the Pro-Am ended, I loaded up the Mercedes with all my bags and set out for the Savannah hospital. I got about 2 miles down the road before I had to turn around. I couldn't figure out how to turn on the radio and barely could drive the car due to all the buttons and other fancy things. I returned to the parking lot and unloaded everything back in my truck. I left a little embarrassed but definitely more comfortable. I got to Savannah at 11:30pm and I was excited to see Beth and my little buddy Jake. At 3:30am, Beth woke me up because she was having contractions. We made the short drive to the hospital and sure enough, Beth was on her way to delivering our little girl. We stayed up all night and Beth was never in much pain. In fact, she was very calm and relaxed and never even hinted of experiencing any sort of pain. She received an epidural early Tuesday morning and around 12:00pm, her doctor said it was time. Now I am sure that everyone has heard the horror stories of someone experiencing a long and painful delivery. However, I must say that as an outsider, this one appeared to be neither long nor painful. During her first push, Beth's doctor had to stop her because she was pushing too hard. She instructed her to push very gently on the next one. To my surprise, I heard the sound of a little girl crying. She was here! Basically, Beth pushed one and a half times and our new addition arrived. Incredible! I certainly am not saying that the delivery was easy but it definitely didn't take much effort. We welcomed a very healthy and beautiful Elizabeth Blakely Adams into the world a little after noon on April 27th. She weighed 7 lbs 8 ounces and was 19 inches long. We will call her Libby and we couldn't be more proud. She looks like Jake did as a newborn and I only pray that she continues to rather than take a turn for the worse and look like her father! Beth is doing great and I am amazed at how easy she made it look. In fact, her and Libby were able to leave the hospital on Wednesday afternoon and head home. With everything under control and my family safe and healthy, I drove back to Charlotte to compete in this week's event. I will be off next week and I cannot wait to spend time with my family at home.
Unfortunately, April 27th was also a very sad day. Our family lost a very close friend in an automobile accident. Hal Sharpe was as close to the Yeomans family as one can be without being blood related. He worked for Beth's dad and we spent a tremendous amount of time together. During my winters, I often rode around with Hal as he looked at various tracts of timber. We went hunting together and he was always present when we had big cookouts at the Barn. We always roomed together on hunting trips and he cried with joy the day I asked Beth to marry me. He always had a smile on his face and even though he knew very little about golf, he was one of my biggest fans. He will truly be missed. I cannot believe that he is gone and that I never had a chance to say goodbye. His accident was definitely a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wasn't far from his home as he traveled down the road pulling a tractor on a trailer. A woman ran through a stop sign and crashed into his big diesel truck. Unfortunately, Hal was not wearing his seat belt and was thrown from his vehicle. He spent several days in a coma at the hospital but never recovered. He leaves behind a wife, four children, and a tremendous amount of friends who are heartbroken that he is gone.
Hopefully, I will play well this week in Charlotte and use it as a way to honor my little girl Libby and my good friend Hal Sharpe. Even though I haven't had any sleep, I am looking forward to Thursday's round. This is my first tournament with Tiger in the field and I cannot wait to compete against him. As I write this blog, I am reminded of countless conversations I have had with Hal and Beth's dad, Mr. H.G, over the years. They have always said that golf was an easy sport and all I needed to do was beat one man, Tiger! If I did this consistently, everything else would take care of itself and I would have more time to hunt and fish! Very true. Hopefully, I will make them proud.