It seems to be happening less and less these days, but occasionally good things still happen to good people. During this past year, the courage and dignity that Stuart Appleby has shown us has made him something of a folk hero wherever he plays. What most people forget, however, is that he was well on his way to becoming one of the game’s most admired men anyway, even before his tragic loss. It seems kind of sad to me that he had to achieve our admiration in this way.
It doesn’t happen very often either in sports or in business (just ask Mark McCormack), but occasionally nice guys do make it to the top. In golf, names like Steve Elkington, Fred Couples and Nick Price spring to mind, and I believe that Stuart is in the same category. For most of us, the loss of a loved one is usually followed by a period of private grieving, but for Stuart it was a self-inflicted public ordeal which melted the hearts of even the most cynical sports fan. It was obvious to us all that it would have been easier for him to withdraw from the spotlight, but instead he chose the hardest, narrowest path possible. On Sunday it seemed that his path widened, as the others fell by the wayside and perhaps a piece of his life fell back into place when he holed out on the 72nd hole en route to winning the Shell Houston Open.
I didn’t know Renay Appleby very well, but you didn’t have to know her to know that she was special. She would have wanted her husband to be famous for the great player that he is, and not for the player who lost the love of his life. We have a show on CBS, which I hardly ever get to watch, but this was one episode of “Touched By An Angel” that I did get to witness. I hope it’s time for we in the media to let Renay rest, and let Stuart go on.