Monday, June 11, 2007

Lee Sung and the true spirit of the game

"The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work." - Harry Golden

Quite often the best stories in sport are those of a sportsman's conquest over difficulty and victory in the face of adversity. Lee Sung's triumph is a heart warming story.He won the Bangkok Airways open, an event he dominated from start to finish. There are few stories that touch the heart like that of a player fighting against odds to make a name for himself in the game. Lee was born deaf but his disability has not stopped him from reaching the pinnacle of sport with his maiden triumph on the Asian Tour.

He probably did not hear the crowds egging him on when he strode out on to the final green with a comfortable lead or the cheer that went up when he sunk the final putt to clinch his victory but that did not stop him from enjoying every bit of the experience. This victory has reaffirmed his belief that he can compete with the best golfers in the world. He may not be Korea's best golfer nor is he in a position to challenge K.J.Choi's status as the best golfer from South Korea any time soon but Korea has definitely found a new star and his story will definitely ensure that people from across the world will root for him. Not for one moment should you mistake this support for pity. Sport has no place for pity, if you don't have the ability to perform, no one will take notice. People will always stand to applaud those who have it in them to conquer adversity and achieve glory and Lee Sung is one such golfer who will always receive warm accolades from the followers of the game and his contemporaries. Ernie Els after finishing at the same postion as Lee in a recent event in Shanghai had said during a press conference "It must be very difficult for him.what he's doing is unbelievable."

His brother and father have always been with him. His brother caddied for him and had to come up with special signs to explain the kind of shots that needed to be hit. En route to the victory he shot a course record 62 on saturday that gave him a comfortable lead over the others in the field.

The other remarkable story came from across the Atlantic where Woody Austin, an almost out of the game golfer shot the best round of his life to clinch a victory in the St Jude Classic. The PGA Tour website has likened his victory to the "PURSUIT OF golf HAPPINESS" . Just last week Austin had qualified for the U.S. open in a bizarre fashion, playing his last few holes with a sand wedge as his putter because he had broken his putter half way through the round. His proverbial "rise from the ashes" has only instilled more fire in him to pursue the game he loves and the want to continue to chase his dream.

We must salute the efforts of these two great sportsmen who have showed us that more than the victory itself it is the route to victory that teaches us a lesson or two!

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