Levin Smokes His Way to Defeat at Phoenix: A Fan's View

Yahoo Contributor Network

Sunday was the day for sports surprises and upsets. It is highly unlikely that underdogs in two separate sports will post rousing comebacks and be victorious on the same day, but that is exactly what happened on February 5 2012. Not only did the under-dog New York Giants defeat the favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, Kyle Stanley came back from a seven shot deficit to win the Phoenix Open golf tournament.

A week earlier, Stanley suffered a heart breaking defeat when he blew a four shot lead on the 18th hole of the final round at Torrey Pines, with a triple bogie. His come-from-behind win at the Phoenix Open left him in tears for the second straight week.

The win at Scottsdale Arizona was the first tournament victory for the 24 old golfer, but Stanley is no novice to golf. Kyle began playing golf at a young age, and won his first of four AJGA events at the age of 17. During his golfing career at Clemson, Stanley earned the distinction of becoming the only golfer in history to have three top ten finishes in separate NCAA national events.

So what happened to spencer Levin? Going into the final round of play, Levin had a six shot lead. Even with a bobble or two, that should have been enough to carry him through to victory, but it wasn't. As Stanley had done the week before, Levin suffered total meltdown. When he found the water on the 15th hole, he knew it was over. It would take three consecutive birdies to remain in contention, but he knew it would not happen.

I hate to say it, but karma could have played a factor in Levin's downfall. Sunday, the final day of the Phoenix Open, just happened to be the day of the annual green-out hosted each year by the tournament. The green- out, billed as an ecological and environmental event is designed with a clean earth in mind. Everyone from maintenance personnel, to spectator, to player get involved. It is a celebratory day and the atmosphere is light.

Levin chose not to participate, and dressed in the usual black and white attire; played out his game smoking one cigarette after another, leaving the butts on the ground. Even after fan criticism, Levin continued puffing down the green. Perhaps the torment of the fans laid guilt on his sub conscious, or maybe he felt conspicuous in his defiant black and white garb. In any case, justice was done, and Levin should take the hint that smoking does not belong in professional sports.


Golf is the major summer time sport here in Northeast Harbor. I've played each year here for the past decade. When I lived in Georgia, I had the opportunity to be a spectator at two of the Augusta championships.

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