(Left to right: Josh from The Hackers Paradise, Dave Cordero with adidas Golf, Steve Olsen, Mark Elder with adidas Golf, Chris Dukeminier and myself)
There are great things about sports, and then there is the game of golf. A sport that is more a concept than an act of competition, the golf course is the only place in the world where between three groups you could find a business meeting, a family outing and a serious gambling competition all occurring. It's more than man, ball and winner. It's lovable, frustrating and beautiful, all interchanging between golf shots.
None of this could be more apparent than what adidas Golf put on the past two months with their "Wear in the World" competition, something that pitted two lucky SOBs in some of the most beautiful and desolate golf locations in the world.
A tee time at midnight in Norway? They did it. A female caddie picking you mangos out of a tree in Thailand? It happened. A chance to walk within the ropes at the home of golf during the British Open? Yes sir.
Last week, I was asked to head to Bandon Dunes for the conclusion of this competition, and I learned something over the short period I spent with the competitors. Steve Olsen, the six handicap from Green Bay, Wisc. was put up against Chris Dukeminier, the former Oregon Duck golfer that resides in Portland. I got to hang with both for three days at one of the best golf destinations in our country, and if I had to say I learned one thing about them both, it's that adidas Golf did a helluva job at picking candidates.
Steve, who accepted the job on Monday with TaylorMade/adidas after taking Chris down in the nine country competition, will be known as the "winner" of Wear in the World, but there aren't any losers. Both these guys are the type of dudes you'd like to buy a beer for, or play 18 holes with.
I met both guys at the clubhouse of Pacific Dunes, recently named the top public golf course in the United States. Not a bad place to be hanging, eh? It was a foggy morning as most coastal Oregonian days are, and we were off to play 18 holes. It would be one of those instances that you knew would be pretty awesome. From the first tee shot we all knew we were lucky bastards, but those two were just a bit luckier than me (They'd been doing this same thing for 50 days, you see).
For the next three days we competed as golfers do, more because we are ingrained golfers; idiots with sticks. We are the types of people that will go out in a windstorm and downpour just to get in nine holes, and will sit in the clubhouse after drying off, laughing about it. Chris and Steve are golfers first, workers second, and lucky for them they were competing for something that allowed them to do both.
While Steve won, and will be working for the company, Chris can't be considered the loser. He is getting married in October, and before then will be caddying for his brother, Jack, in the U.S. Amateur. Chris claims his brother can beat him just about every time they go out now, something impressive to hear from a one-handicap. He's a proud big brother, and says that he has more fun carrying the bag for Jack now than he does actually playing the game himself.
If you didn't get a chance to check out their adventures, you should swing by the Wear in the World webpage and watch a few of the videos. We as golfers dream of a chance to go play the game for a few months like a professional. For Steve and Chris, they go to experience it, and will be able to remember it for decades to come.
Be jealous. I sure was.