Kyle Stanley savoring victory. / Getty Images
Busbee: Golf gives you chances, and then cruelly snatches them away. But every so often, golf gives you a second chance. It's the rare guy who can take advantage of an opportunity so soon after heartbreak, but it sure appears Kyle Stanley is just such a guy. One week after one of the most painful collapses in golf history, Stanley bounced back to snag a victory at the Waste Management Open. So where does this rank among all of golf's bounce backs, sir?
Bacon: We've seen impressive bounce backs before. Heck, last year gave us two (David Toms and Rory McIlroy) but to do it the week after you make triple bogey to find yourself in a playoff you eventually lose? It has to be the best comeback story golf has ever seen. I was half-expecting Stanley to fade away after such a brutal happening at Torrey and instead he goes out and wins? Incredible.
Busbee: Agreed. So let's get in his head, if we can. How does one manage to keep one's wits in that kind of situation? You have to just completely block out all thoughts of before and focus on the moment, right?
Bacon: Well, if you watched, you noticed the choking isn't completely out of the man. Trade in the 18th at TPC Scottsdale for say, Winged Foot, and Stanley's tee ball on the last would have been over in Mickelson land. Same thing for his shot on the 17th getting lucky enough to be playable from under that cactus. I think the good news for Stanley was while his wheels started to get a little creaky, everyone else around him saw that their wheels were already rolling down the street behind the car. That said, getting the first win must be huge, and to do it the week after you collapsed away a great opportunity shows you have the internal fortitude to possibly win and win big someday (like, say, the U.S. Open).
Busbee: So you're saying that TPC Scottsdale was the equivalent of putting the bumper rails up while bowling, are ya, Shane? Pretty brave from half a planet away! [Editor's note: Shane, an Arizona resident, is currently in Australia.]
The keep-your-head-while-everyone-is-losing-theirs philosophy is a fine one for golf and life alike, of course. But Stanley still had to make that charge, still had to put himself in position to make that run. This could not have been a better scenario for the kid; he not only completely obliterates the stomach-churn of the loss, he gives himself the confidence to understand that he can bounce back from anything. We might just have a special talent on our hands here.
Bacon: No no, not a knock on TPC Scottsdale, more of a credit to Stanley for not completely losing it after a couple of bad swings. But like you said, all he needed was to win and things could change. Watch out for this kid.
All right, your turn. Best turnaround in golf history? Have your say!
- Kyle Stanley