I’m scheduling this to post late so that everyone has the chance to read Chesson’s post. I realize that you all would much rather hear from him than me as his writing is far more entertaining
Oh man, what do you say after your husband wins? Wow… Thank you Jesus…
So, as you know, going to Puerto Rico was a tossup for us. We had been committed for months, but Chesson was so frustrated with his playing after the first round of Honda that he told me to cancel our flights and our hotel and make plans to go see his swing coach in Atlanta instead. Thankfully, I’ve been with Chesson long enough to know that sometimes he makes emotional decisions that he later reneges on. I didn’t cancel any of our plans and we had a sort of gut check that night. (Similar to the one after the first stage of Q-school in 2012, described here) He played beautifully on the weekend and we headed to Puerto Rico with “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” (to quote our favorite tv series ever).
I watched his back 9 on Thursday and was thrilled to see him looking so calm and back in his rhythm. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I was out there for his full rounds. I couldn’t stay away, he was finally back to looking like the old Chesson! I knew he was back after watching him play hole 14 on Thursday. He snap-hooked it off the tee, luckily having a good lie short of the hazard, then hooked his approach into some bushes, having to take an unplayable. Many players, including Chesson for the greater part of the last several months, would have been ticked off to have hit 2 such bad shots. Yet watching him, you would have thought he was middle of the fairway, middle of the green. He was so calm and collected, like it didn’t phase him. I mentioned how impressed I was to him afterwards and he said, “Yeah I wasn’t worried because I knew how good I was hitting it.” That’s one of those intangible aspects of golf that you wish you could bottle up and save for a rainy day, but it comes and goes. Thankfully, it came for 4 straight rounds last week and it was fun to watch!
For those of you curious to know what our life looked like before and after the round, I’m afraid it’s pretty anticlimactic. Chesson didn’t finish until around 6pm Saturday and we had to go refill our rental car with gas. He said he wanted a “good dinner to get ready for his round” and when we passed a Wendy’s, he announced that was where we were eating. Yes, my husband’s definition of a good dinner is getting a big plate of chicken nuggets and french fries. We spent some time playing with Hughes that night and went to bed relatively early.
Sunday morning we woke up, had breakfast together and packed up all our stuff. We also prayed together as a little family of 3. I prayed that God would give Chesson peace, confidence and favor, and we also prayed for the other guys. There were a lot of guys in the field last week who don’t normally get to play out here and they were facing a lot of pressure to have good rounds on Sunday to gain more status. We know what it feels like to face that kind of pressure and prayed for them to have peace as well. You always want to win because of your good play, not because other people around you collapse. Chesson didn’t eat very much, but neither did I. Excited nerves do that to you.
The whole day I walked and prayed. Honestly Chesson was so composed from start to finish. He didn’t look like a rookie out there and he didn’t make nervous mistakes. He stayed in his rhythm and hit good shots all day long. I was debating all day whether to leave and go get Hughes or to stay and watch him. If he did win, I certainly wanted Hughes to be a part of the celebration, but I also didn’t want to leave! I ended up leaving after hole 16 to get him. He had JUST fallen asleep so I woke him up and jumped in a van back to the course. The road cuts between 17 green and 18 tee and I made the driver stop so I could watch Chesson. He was walking off 17 green and his standard bearer had him at -20. He had birdied 17! I was so pumped for him. We watched him hit on 18 and when he instantly picked up his tee, I knew he liked it. They hurried me to the 18th green where Hughes and I waited for Chess to get there. I tried to stay in the shadows during his walk to the green and subsequent chip shot, all the while the cameramen were trying to get me to get closer to him. Hello, he’s got enough on his shoulders right now without his wife and newborn son standing right beside him! Hughes was groggy from being woken up, but thankfully didn’t make a peep the whole time. He was mesmerized by the crowds and grandstands. Once Chesson tapped in his birdie, we headed for the green. It was such a special celebration and a moment in time I will remember forever. (True story: Growing up, Sunday was always my favorite day to watch golf with my dad. I didn’t really care to see each shot, I just wanted to watch who won and his family run on the green to celebrate. I was always so bummed when the network ran out of time and didn’t show that part!)
We posed for 1,284 pictures after the round, stayed for the trophy presentation and subsequent speeches, and Chesson gave interviews in the media room. The now famous picture, the one of Hughes sitting in the trophy, was probably the 1000th one taken of us. I half-joked that we should put Hughes in the trophy and Chess was all for it. We never imagined that would be the image that spread like wildfire. His agent flew in and surprised us on the green and he was there to help navigate the chaos. He made sure we were shuttled to the airport in time to catch our flight… which was 2 hrs later! It was a direct flight from San Juan to Tampa and seriously half of this week’s field was on that flight. Turns out, it was 3 hours delayed, so we all hung out in the San Juan airport until 11pm. We found a sports bar that was open and Chesson enjoyed a celebratory dinner of… wait for it… chicken fingers and french fries.
Fast forward to 3am and we finally collapsed in our hotel room in Tampa. They were replaying coverage of the round on the Golf Channel but neither of us wanted to do anything other than fall into bed. Poor Hughes was such a trooper. He slept on me in the airport, in our empty seat on the plane, and then went back to sleep when we got to the hotel. He and I both were in recover mode on Monday!
Yesterday Chesson took the day off and we hung out as a family. We went shopping and had a nice relaxing dinner together at our resort. I feel like the win is already so far away and we are back in our routine. Chesson is looking forward to this week’s event and we are setting new goals for the remainder of the year.
As always, thank you all for following this journey with us. Part of what makes our life fun is the ability to share it with so many people, both the ups and the downs. We appreciate your comments, texts, tweets, and most of all prayers. Catch ya next week!