When 20-year-old Curtis Luck (pictured) became just the third Aussie to win the United States Amateur Championship, he described it as ‘the pinnacle’ for an amateur, the ‘highlight of [his] career so far’.
For someone who admits he lives and breathes golf, it was a dream come true to have his name engraved on the cup alongside luminaries such as Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson.
‘The US amateur is the championship that I’ve looked up to and thought that’s the one thing I want to have my name on,’ the Perth golfer told ABC News.
‘This is why I practise every day and work hard.’
The win has opened doors—or greens—for him, securing invitations to the 2017 Masters, US Open and this month’s Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney (November 17–20).
Sport is an allegory of life, full of highs and lows. We celebrate the highs, such as the exciting achievement of an up-and-coming young champion. On the other hand, we commiserate when our heroes suffer setbacks—such as the lows experienced recently by a couple of established Aussie golfing stars.
Tough times often come out of the blue and at the worst possible time, something Queenslander and golf’s world number one Jason Day knows well. Day will miss two of Australia’s top golfing events because of a back injury.
‘I was looking forward to playing in the Australian Open and teaming up with Adam Scott on one of my favourite courses, Kingston Heath, at the World Cup in Melbourne,’ a disappointed Day said, although the good news is that he’s expected to be back on the greens next year.
Day’s good mate Adam Scott also suffered a bit of a setback when he missed the cut for the Japan Open Title last month, the first he’d missed for more than a year. The leading world-ranked player in the field and headline act had hoped to be just the fourth Australasian to claim the title. Instead he boarded a plane for the CIMB Classic in Malaysia en route to the Australian Open.
Golf enthusiasts—and especially those who enjoy watching Australian golfers—are no doubt excited to see a new champion in the making as Luck hones his skills on the amateur circuit before turning professional.
At the same time, those who have long admired the talent and professionalism of golf stalwarts such as Day will feel the disappointment of an inconvenient injury and Scott’s unexpectedly below par performance in a tournament. As sports lovers, we celebrate our heroes’ victories and lament their losses as intensely as if they were our own.
Identifying with the joy and pain of others is something we see in the Bible. It’s part of loving those around us and being available to support and encourage them.
Writing in the book of Romans, Paul gives some sound advice along these lines, saying ‘Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them’ (chapter 12, verse 9); ‘Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep’ (verse 15) and ‘Live in harmony with each other’ (verse 16). Our lives will surely be a fair way above par if we treat each other like this.