Monday, October 5, 2009

What's Happened to Them?

Sam returned home last night from the Netherlands with a smile. He won his two singles matches both by two and one scores. His Belgian team finished second. He returned home only at 7 p.m. and had three hours of homework, leaving little time for basking in glory and chit-chatting.

As my son played, I watched over the weekend the exploits of some of my Shooting For Tiger characters. Alexis Thompson, the explosive 12-year old in the book, is growing up fast. I remember her with her painted face at the Canon Cup while I was researching my book. The picture that I took of her on the right appeals to me because she was then just a kid having fun.

At age 14, the home-schooled high school freshman from Florida shot 65 and 69 in the first two rounds to lead the Navistar LPGA tournament. Although she faltered on Sunday and finished 13th, her success shows once again how girls mature faster than boys on the golf course.

This precious maturity cuts two ways. The temptation mounts on teenagers to turn pro and cash in. But the danger of burn out a la Michelle Wie remains everpresent. Thompson and her father Scott seem to understand the dangers. They always told me that Alexis would finish high school and go to college. Will her success accelerate that schedule?

Another Shooting for Tiger character making headlines is Peter Uihlein. Over the summer, he won all four of his matches in helping lead the U.S. to victory over Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup. Uihlein was also quarterfinalist at the U.S. Amateur. When I watched Uihlein compete as a junior, I never doubted his talent, but often questioned his matured. Maybe he's finally growing up.

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