A college teammatesent me an e-mail—one of those reminder lists about life choices. I usuallydelete those immediately, but I opened it, and one of the nuggets was:"Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now." Last week CBSannouncer Ian Baker-Finch (below) returned to competitive golf after aneight-year hiatus, marking the 20th anniversary of his first PGA Tour win,which was at Colonial. He's one of those players (myself included) who tried tobe too perfect, fix a game that wasn't broken and beat balls until injuriesbecame more numerous than birdies. In the process golf became a demon. LikeIan, I have the good fortune to still be around this demon we love, talkingabout the principles of the game that we know to be true through our own goodand bad experiences. I've worked with Ian, hung out with his family and playedgolf with him. You'd think that someone (a major champion, no less) chased awayfrom the game at 34 might be sour or hung up on "what could have been."Not Ian. He has never let his golf struggles affect his real life. Everyone hasoffered the guy a solution to his competitive woes, and many had high hopeswhen Finchy opened with a 68 last Thursday. The driver got the best of him onFriday and he shot a score 10 strokes higher, but that didn't matter. He hadthe guts to show up, and as he said in a text on Friday, "I buried a lot ofdemons yesterday." In the record books it'll be a missed cut, but on thelife list it'll show that he made the most of it.
Dottie Pepper is a17-year LPGA veteran and on-course analyst for NBC and Golf Channel.
ILLUSTRATION BY KAGAN MCLEOD (PEPPER)
HUNTER MARTIN/GETTY IMAGES (BAKER-FINCH)