This Week at WorldGolf.com: March 7, 2007
On golf, tennis and Scott Draper
Growing up, tennis and golf had an uneasy relationship in my life. I focused on tennis - playing competitively - and kept golf largely to the weekends or early Monday mornings, when the country club my family belonged to allowed juniors unfettered access to the golf course.
When I was on the tennis court, I longed to hit golf balls; when I was on the course, I thought about the workout I had later in the day with my tennis coach. I dreamed of Wimbledon and Augusta and the Masters.
High school forced me to a decision: Tennis and golf were both spring sports and I could only compete on one team. I always chose tennis, since I was team captain.
It's a conflict I still think about, years later, not least of all because my father often tells me that it's too bad I didn't concentrate on my golf in those early years, I could have been really good.
Baseball, football and basketball all seem to have their multi-sport athletes who can play at the highest levels of competition in more than one. But where are the crossover athletes in tennis and golf? There aren't many out there.
Now, however, there's Scott Draper. This Australian was an amazing doubles player who collected numerous tournament titles before a knee injury in 2005 brought on early retirement. Yet that was the same year he played his first professional golf tournament, and for a while he juggled both sports.
Now, two years later, Draper, 32, is playing golf full time. Earlier this year he won his first professional tournament, the New South Wales PGA Championship. He has his eyes set on the PGA Tour this summer.
Greg Garber of ESPN.com recently wrote that Draper has had to overcome not only obsessive compulsive disorder and severe depression but the death of his young wife to cystic fibrosis.
That's reason enough to support Draper, but for me it's a little more personal. I'll watch him and remember how badly I wanted to compete in two sports and was never able to.
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