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Ya Gotta Believe

Greetings Golfers,

On July 9, 1973 … the NY Mets were 34-46 and in last place in the National League East. That night at a team meeting, Tug McGraw yelled-out “Ya Gotta Believe!” … which became their anthem as they went on to win the National League pennant.

I kept thinking of that crazy saying while watching the last round of last week’s PGA Championship.

Was Phil’s victory as amazing as the Mets in 1973? Yes. Even more amazing. I still can’t believe it (I was trying to believe!).

Obviously Phil is ridiculously talented. He won a PGA Tour event while still in college. And 30 years later wins a Major as a Senior. Amazing.

If Tiger Woods hadn’t come along … Phil might have dominated … and have become Jack II. Who knows? 

He was always a wizard with a sand wedge … and as he says “hits bombs”. Even at 50, he hits “bombs”.

However, his nickname was “Phil the Thrill” … because safe was never the name of his game.

And safe was never the name of his life outside of golf. He was outspoken … and a legendary gambler. 

And though he was outspoken … I never thought he seemed sincere. I thought he was arrogant with a fake “folksiness”. That he was smarter than everyone and that life was just a game to be played.

Maybe. Those were just my perceptions.

However, his behavior after winning the PGA was impressive. He was respectful. Respectful of the Wanamaker Trophy … respectful of the other players in the field … and respectful of the fans and interviewers. His post-game interview with the guys from the Golf Channel was perfect. Insightful, thoughtful, generous, funny, and even wise. 

His charm seemed genuine.

I guess “Ya Gotta Believe!”


Tom Abts
GM/Head PGA Professional
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Deer Run Golf Club
8661 Deer Run Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 443-2351

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