Mike's story of Big Daddy at Aspen / Kiss the Sky does not go far enough. He may have been in that lead OPEN division group that only got to experience a little bit of the drama. I was in the MASTERS group (more fun AND we win sometimes) that got to live through one of the most amazing 3 golf holes I have ever witnessed.But as Mike did write, through it all, Big Daddy showed that it is just golf after all.Here it is in all it's glory:
Hole #10, a down hill shot to a basket perched right in front of a grove of trees. Too short and you are putting down hill towards the trees, too long and you are in the trees. Not too long a shot but hard to judge. Daddy throws something and it looks perfect. There is a large group of folks on the next tee box who all should be seeing his shot. Somehow, Big Daddy's disc hyzers out, gets up on that roll edge that hyzers often do, and threads it's way THROUGH this huge group and down, and down, and down, across the path of the next hole AFTER the next hole (#12 mentioned in Mike's story) and into a huge bowl. We ask, we search, finally finding it WAY down there. True to the professional golfer he is, Big Daddy hoofs it down there and plays it back up. Maybe an 8 on the hole if I recall correctly. And he was in contention prior to that!! And all that hiking up wore him out just a bit.
Hole #11, down a longish path that runs across a slope. Teeing off on a hill, too wide to the left and you are way up a rocky hill with a tricky shot to a basket perched at the end of the path. Too far to the right and you are off a huge drop off into trees. Many a disc that goes there is never seen again. Big Daddy is ready to get back in the game, he takes one of his cherished Aviars and drives it to . . .Grip lock and it is WAY out there to the right on a perfectly straight line to that never seen again place. I mean totally pulled. He goes to the convenient drop zone, takes another Aviar, and then somehow pulls it right again. Silence in the group. I think Dave said something to break the ice and try to put all the rest of us at ease. We felt so bad. Not as bad as Big Daddy I am sure. He ends up with another ridiculous score. An 11? Who knows.
Hole #12, here is where Mike's tale comes in. That severe drop and bowl to the left is where Big Daddy had been on his tee shot for #10!! So he is going back across the hill in the opposite direction from the recently completed #11. Basket is reachable and right under the gondola. Yes, he hyzered terribly. And not only did it hyzer (this is where the true story differs a bit from Mike's recollection, I think he merged two of the holes together) but this one also skipped and stood up and started to roll. It rolled down the tree line, which was WAY down there on the left, coming a bit back towards the tee but at the same time going away, and then took a little turn around a corner to that never to be seen again place. We declared it a lost disc, would anyone really make someone go and find it? He took another drive, finished the hole and true to Dave Griffin / Big Daddy's game at all times, he moved on.NO ONE, and I do mean not even the nastiest, crankiest, biggest pain in the butt golfer you have ever known, deserved all that. Certainly not Dave. But he always got a huge lift out of every telling of the tale. He is legend at Kiss the Sky. We'll return there this summer and tell the story once again.
Can't say what the loss of Big Daddy means to our sport in general. To me, it is a loss of someone who was always there with a great spirit for the game, who never gave up, and through it all kept that big smile on his face.