Okay, the lyrics need work. But that doesn't change the fact that I got another chance to play the National this past week, a.k.a. the greatest golf course that I've ever played. After a second go 'round, I can't help but think of the words of the great KRS-One: "I'm still #1!" Those lyrics work just fine.
Looking back now...it's crazy to think that I'm almost passed on the opportunity to play CB Macdonald's masterpiece again. For most of the latter half of July and beginning of August, I sat in my home office wallowing in self-pity and was stuck in a existential (my favorite word in the English language, although I'm still not exactly sure what it means), post-marathon and post-Ballynizzle Cup defeat funk. I was done for the year, by far the earliest in the season that I had hung 'em up. When my good buddy Matt mentioned that there might be an opportunity to fill out the foursome at NGLA, I initially passed.
But in the words of John Popper (with creative license), "The Alps brings you baaaack!"
A few weeks back, my friend and golf writer Tom innocently asked me a question about the playing characteristics of the famed 3rd Hole at National for a piece that he was working on. I was slightly perplexed and deeply perturbed that I couldn't give him a good answer, largely because the first time I played the hole back in June, I hit my drive about 50 yards left of left, and had to play the hole up the hill from near the 4th green.
That darn 3rd hole stuck in my craw for days. As did many of the other wonderful template holes - Redan, Road, Bottle, Punchbowl, etc. I thought to myself, "How many times are you going to play this course in your lifetime? Strap on a sack and get back out there, you idiot!" I went crawling back to Matt and a couple e-mails later, I was confirmed in. Natty twice!
Check out the pictures below. What a perfect way to cap off what has been the best golfing year of my life. Unless, of course, there's a Natty Thrice sometime in September or October (anybody?)
Here's the bell behind the Alps green. Matt should've been the one to gong it, as he birdied the hole. Wow, what a hole to birdie. I did successfully hit it in the right side of the fairway, but hit a low skunky approach shot out to the left (a common theme on this day) and made bogey.
The greatest Redan hole in the world. What did I say my lifetime record is on redans last time? 0-for-102? Well, it's 0-for-103 now.