(Even) These Guys Are Good, A.K.A. the Curse of Alex Coe

Alex Coe single-handedly ruined my golfing summer.

Granted, I've never met Alex Coe. He could be the nicest guy in the world. But one on clear, sunny Monday in late May, Alex completely turned my golf world upside down.

On May 29, 2007, Alex Coe cooly and calmly dropped a 62 at my home course Prairie Landing during Monday qualifying for the Nationwide LaSalle Bank Open. Sixty-freakin' two!!! That would've eradicated the course record by three shots, except that Keoke Cotner, Jakobus Ross and Ryan Vermeer came in with 64 and Miles Maillet came in with 63. A 65 would've merely gotten you into a three-way playoff for the last two spots.

Never heard of Coe, Cotner, Ross, Vermeer, or Maillet? My point exactly. These are guys that don't even have status on the Tour's farm system. A lot of these grinders travel cross country in their cars from site to site hoping to beat a hundred plus other hopefuls just for a chance to get into the regular event. The LaSalle Bank Open, with the highest purse on the Nationwide's schedule ($135,000 to the winner), acts as a pseudo major and draws the most interest among qualifiers. They actually have two qualifiers, with 14 spots up for grabs. Of the 14 whom qualified, only four actually made the cut (Cotner finished T-18 and made $8,500). Alex Coe followed up his record-breaking round and went 78-65 during the actual tournament to miss the cut by three strokes. The average payout per qualifier? $1,114 for the week. Considering travel costs, caddie expenses, etc...that, folks, is a tough way to make a living.

Sixty-two!!! I've played the course at least 100 times, and I can't even fathom anyone shooting 62 on that course. It's not like Prairie Landing is exactly a walk in the park. 6,950 yards, Course Rating 73.2, Slope 136 from the blacks. Imagine topping the course rating for a scratch golfer by over 11 strokes.

Before June 10th, I considered myself to be a pretty good golfer. Granted, I have no illusions that I am anywhere near the level of a professional golfer, but Coe's 62 definitely knocked me down about one million places in my estimated Sony World Ranking. My personal best at PL is 72 (I cringed at the fact that the average score of the field was 70.98!). I've had rounds where I've had 8-10 solid birdie opportunities, but I generally only convert on a few of them. Coe just lit it up from beginning to end, and he didn't even birdie the 18th hole, a par 5 which played at a 4.89 stroke average.

I actually forgot about the qualifier until a few days later, and checking the results on a Thursday morning completely ruined my day. I thought to myself, man I'm going to go out that afternoon and just start firing at the flags. Unfortunately, the day I made this self-proclaimation, it also happened to be the windiest day of the summer. My score: 82, and I played pretty well given the conditions. I saw the Head Pro while I was out there and asked him about the Monday qualifier -- he said conditions were absolutely perfect - zero wind (an extreme rarity out there) and in his opinion, the course was set up too easy. Maybe he was just trying to make me feel better, but perfect conditions or not, you can't really discount any 62 unless it's at a pitch and putt.

So, Coe's 62 has haunted me all summer like a bad ex-girlfriend. I feel like my game is coming together nicely, and each round I'm optimistic that THIS round might actually be THE round that I have a breakthrough. And I even manage to show glimpses of brilliance for 8-9 holes. But for whatever reason, I just can't seem to put it all together. In my most recent round, I parred the first seven holes hitting every green and fairway, somehow played the next seven holes eight over (it's still a blur), nearly aced the 14th hole, birdied 16, then finished with an 'X' on 18. Unbelievable. Any more rounds like that one and I'm going to be a certifiable basket case.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I decided to try to do something about it. Despite being previously allergic to a) driving ranges and b) getting up before 6:30 am, I've unleashed my inner-Vijay and have started waking up early to get in some practice before work. We'll soon see if all this hard work will pay off. Tomorrow, we're heading off to Albuquerque for our annual golf binge. 9 rounds, 5 days. Will I break the curse of Alex Coe? Stay tuned and I'll keep you posted on all of the action. Good, bad, or otherwise.

[Note: Speaking of golf binges, recently Jeff, Jimbo and I came up with a great idea for the next big reality show for the Golf Channel. I officially submitted the idea to the Programming Department last week. I can't share any details, but I guarantee you it would make for some great television. I'm not optimistic that anything will come out of it, but you never know.]


  1. Anonymous said...:

    Alex Coe of the canadian tour is the biggest douchebag ever! Not only does he lubricate his rectum using the tears from your distress over his 62 at your home course, but he also enjoys smearing feces on the walls of his hotel rooms. Try partying with the guy without attempted anal rape. But nice story.

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