What a wonder it is

How to sum up what we witnessed at Royal St. George's? Jim Huber puts into perspective the moments of awe, of aghast and of tears, and reflects on the wonderful place Darren Clarke now occupies in life's meandering.


Jim Huber couldn't help but note that both champion Darren Clarke and co-runner-up Phil Mickelson have been touched so deeply by loved ones with breast cancer. (Getty Images)

By Jim Huber, Contributor

SANDWICH, England -- Long, long ago, when I was but a pup newspaper boy and working in Tallahassee, my sports editor was a blustery old one-eyed marvel who cobbled words together like a Carnaby Street shoemaker.

But one legendary Saturday night, after covering another overwhelming Florida State defeat at the hands of Alabama, his copy read thus:

“I sat here and wondered what to write. And I wondered and I wondered and I wondered.”

And the rest of his column down the left side of the front page of the sports section was starkly blank.

I think of that now as my fingers hover over a keyboard. I have spent the better part of the last four days watching another Open Championship unfold like a very patient flower, slowly, carefully, beautifully, until its finished version simply takes my breath away. There are moments of aghast and more of pure awe. And in the end, there are tears.

To watch two men of similar age, both stricken so deeply by loved ones with breast cancer, bring that horrible disease to the world’s consciousness again should be a far more worthy thing than chasing down a small silver jug.

To watch one in between them suffer yet another astonishingly awful moment on the final day of a major championship lets one wonder just how much a grown man must suffer on his journey?

To see the large, bearded Buddha in the familiar open-neck white shirt and blue blazer and know his small company in England now represents the last three major champion golfers and realize why the smile is as enormous as the belly.

To consider a sliver of a country no bigger than Connecticut with a population no more than West Virginia has now given the planet three of its last five major champions. And for the first time since 1910, the first back-to-back major winners from somewhere other than America.

I must admit, for fear of a Sunday failure, I wrote most of what I felt for Darren Clarke after the third round. But I think of just what a wonderful place he occupies in life’s meandering now. 

To have gone through the painful and lingering death of his wife Heather, to have wandered off into golf’s hinterlands for awhile, to have celebrated other men’s victories while logically imagining his own opportunity likely gone, to be standing on the 18th green Sunday at Royal St. George’s Golf Club with the Claret Jug in his 42-year old hands ... well, there can be no more deserving chap.

And so I sat here and wondered and wondered and wondered again.

What a wonder it is.

The space, unlike my old editor’s, will not be blank -- but it surely will be tear-stained.