If you are a fan of golf, you already know the story. Hunter Mahan was leading the Canadian Open by two strokes as he warmed up on the range before the start of the third round. A cell phone was handed to Mahan and after a brief chat, he withdrew from the tournament.
Let's set the stage here. The phone call was from his wife, or at least someone who knew about her situation. Mrs. Mahan was in labor, with the birth of the couples' first child seemingly imminent. Without hesitation Mahan left the course to be with his wife - the tournament be darned. Another fact that should be mentioned is the prize money for the winner. Had Mahan stuck around and won the tournament he would have received more than $1 million!
The sports talk shows were all filled with two thoughts. One was that Hunter Mahan has to be considered the model husband to leave all that possible loot on the table to be with his wife. The other thought was wondering how many of us male golf fanatics would have done the same thing.
We'll deal with the second thought first. Most people who do not play golf do not understand the addiction the game has on those of us who do play. We play in all kinds of weather and miss many important events to do so. I can safely say that I have played the game on occasion when my wife would have preferred that I be doing something else. Not often mind you, but a few times for sure.
I have missed out on honey-do lists, family reunions, kid's school activities and other assorted events to chase that little white ball around. Though I did show up for the birth of my children (in the middle of golf season, I might add), there were times when I probably should not have played golf. I have felt guilty about it and usually try to make it up to her.
Here, though, we have two important distinctions. First of all we are talking about the birth of your first child. Would it be different if it was the second or third child? The fact is a woman wants her husband by her side when she gives birth for any child, though the first time around would be a bit more daunting. It may not seem like it at the time, depending on the difficulty of her labor, but she really does want you there. Likewise, the husband wants to be at the birth of his children. Nearly every golfer I know would leave the course for the birth of a child.
The other distinction is the amount of money on the line. Again, most of the golfers I know play for about five bucks or less. Would we leave the course if a million smackers were on the line? Many wouldn't, and nearly as many wives would suggest that she could get along just fine without you. Just show me the money afterward!
The thing that caught my attention was a sportscaster calling Hunter Mahan the husband of the year. Is that because he walked away at a chance for a million dollars? Get serious. A million to Hunter Mahan is the equivalent to the $5 bet for one of us. Mahan has made more than $25 million playing golf. The loss of a potential another million is not that big of deal for him - and, yes, I did write that with a straight face!
Was the title bestowed because he left to be with his wife where many others would not have done so? All professionals would have done the same thing and nearly all of us duffers would have also. I think the moniker is a bit too much personally, but I am going to leave it up to you.
Do you think Hunter Mahan deserves to be the husband of the year? Before you decide, you should read the following story about a golfer who would do anything for his wife. Let's take a look.
Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cellular phone on a bench rings and the man sitting beside it engages the hands free speaker function and begins to talk. Everyone else in the room stops to listen.
Woman: "Hi, honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"
Woman: "I'm at the shops now and found this beautiful leather coat. It's only $2,000; is it OK if I buy it?"
Man: "Sure, go ahead if you like it that much."
Woman: "I also stopped by the Lexus dealership and saw the models. I saw one I really liked."
Man: "How much?"
Man: "OK, but at that price I want it with all the options."
Woman: "Great! Oh, and one more thing I was just talking to Janie and found out that the house I wanted last year is back on the market. They're asking $980,000 for it."
Man: "Well, then go ahead and make an offer of $900,000. They'll probably take it. If not, we can go the extra $80,000 if it's what you really want."
Woman: "OK, I'll see you later! I love you so much!"
Man: "Bye. I love you, too."
The man hangs up. The other men are staring at him in astonishment, mouths wide open.
He turns and asks, "Anyone know whose phone this is?"
Title (husband of the year, not winner of the Canadian Open) or not, congratulations to Hunter and Kandi Mahan on the birth of daughter, Zoe!
Al Stephenson is The Advertiser-Tribune's golf columnist.
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