Golfer teaches a lesson in overcoming adversity

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

I rarely, if ever, write about sports in this column.

Today is an exception.

Sung Kang, a little-known South Korean golfer, won the Byron Nelson golf tournament this past weekend. In doing so, he outlasted some of the most prominent names in professional golfing circles.

But it wasn’t his victory that caught my attention. It was his Friday second-round score that — for at least this week — put Kang in uncharted territory.

Golf writers described Friday as “an unseasonably cool day with some breezy conditions.”

Well that is putting it mildly.

For a mid-May day in Texas, the weather in near-record territory.

It was not “unseasonably cool.” It was flat-out cold with temps in the lower 50s and breezes that put the wind chill in the upper 30s.

Every golfer was scrambling to find cold weather gear. Fans came out in full winter-weather garb. Broadcasters used blankets to keep warm in the January-like conditions.

And in the midst of these horrendous conditions, Kang managed to tie the course record with an amazing 61.

To put that into perspective, his score was a whopping 10 strokes lower than the average score that day.

But the lesson is not about golf. The lesson is about overcoming miserable conditions and extreme adversity. His lesson is about focus in the face of Mother Nature’s revenge.

Kang went on to win the tournament but his victory did not come Sunday on the final hole. His victory came Friday afternoon as chilly winds and dropping temperatures conquered every single golfer, but one.

With a keen sense of humor, Kang told reporters after his Friday round, “I don’t know what the guys are talking about. Perfect and awesome and nice conditions for the course.”

There are countless examples of athletes or just plain folk overcoming adversity and not just prevailing but exceeding any and all expectations.

And what Kang accomplished on Friday — like other examples — may soon be forgotten.

But for one glorious Friday in May, Sung Kang provided the perfect example of overcoming obstacles and facing circumstances that would doom most others.

Granted, it was just one day of golf and nothing more.

But maybe, just maybe, we can all take comfort in knowing that indeed it is possible to face adversity and win.

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