For the better part of the last decade, two very different and yet similarly-talented individuals ruled the game of golf. That they lived within shouting distance of each other for much of that time and traded phone messages and texts, boosting each other's assaults on the record books merely told us how popular Orlando, Fla., is with the professionals and how each admired the other's enormous genius.
When Annika Sorenstam sadly retired to devote more time to building first a family and then a business, and when Tiger Woods did his dadgumdest to destroy both of his, we were left with a teetering empire.
Who would have the courage, indeed who would even want to try walking in their footsteps? Over the course of decades, men and women both have admitted a true fear of such a task. It is both daunting and perilous and not always the most rewarding of positions.
But here we are at last, it appears. Much is left on young Rory McIlroy's plate in his march toward the top and we will see his next step in the coming days. But at virtually the same age - and living in the same house Sorenstam owned for much of her reign - strides the stunning little Taiwanese Yani Tseng. Perhaps Annika left something precious behind, a magical potion under the bread drawer or behind the shoe closet.
But how astonishing is the young one's skill as she tries to capture major championships as no one in history, man or woman, ever did.
And look at the two of them. Their smiles are miles wide, as genuine as their hearts, their games are built for the long run, their savvy is years older than their passports. Two fetching first names of four letters apiece, all we will need.
Imagine if Yani wins the Women's Open at Broadmoor this week and Rory takes the Open Championship at Royal St. Georges next week. Imagine the overwhelming roar to be raised and the genuine relief breathed by the Gods in Charge.
The shoes are incredibly large. But these seem to be feet well prepared for the long and triumphant walk through the next few decades.
In the lead.
We ask each week for comments and questions through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at PGA.com and on Twitter @jamesrhuber. I wrote last week about the sacrifices asked of members when a golf club brings a major championship through its gates, as the Atlanta Athletic Club is doing with the 93rd PGA Championship in August.
Jeff e-mailed me regarding the mats which we will be required to take for our last week or so, to avoid divots:
"It's grass, for crying out loud! Can you really hurt grass?"
Ella Reff wrote: "I liked your column about the big whoop PGA coming to your club. I didn't know you would have to take mats to keep the grass nice. I just figured you would have to wait a few extra days to play on the course you paid to play on!"
Tom Barnside Tweeted: "Don't you members get a vote on whether you want to host a big event?"
And the answer to that, Tom, is… um… oh, of course.
Keep the comments and questions coming. If you're in the Pebble Beach or Bandon Dunes area over this coming weekend, stop and say hello. I'll be out spending some time with Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore for a piece on the future of golf course architecture. Work, work, work, so tedious.
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