STEVEN FINDS SILVER LINING
STEVEN Bowditch is no longer “that depression guy” but a golfer with a small patch of paradise in Dallas specialising in his wedding and trophy photos.
That would be the 18th green at the TPC Four Seasons Resort where he married his American sweetheart in 2011 and completed his outstanding four-shot win yesterday.
The hug for wife Amanda was as loving as they get because, more than once, he has said “I wouldn’t be here talking to you without her”.
Bowditch’s miscued seven iron to the second last hole at the Byron Nelson championship was really a heart-inmouth summary of his rollercoaster life in one shot.
The ball flirted with crashing on the rocks beside the lake but the blocked mishit had just enough energy to carry the trouble for a fairytale landing.
The Queensland product was grimacing and grinning in the same second.
Sinking the curling birdie putt made sure of victory for the bushy-browed knockabout we all cheer for because he beat the demons of depression which nearly killed him in 2006. “This is a very special place for me,” Bowditch said.
Burning off hotshot American challengers Jimmy Walker and Dustin Johnson, the clutch putts of his superb five-under-64 or a $1.7 million cheque weren’t even the main reasons.
“Taking photos (with the trophy) was definitely the second best time I’ve had on that green because Amanda and I got married and took the pictures there,” Bowditch said.
The “dark times” that Bowditch calls the sleep deprivation, the binge drinking and the crashes in self esteem of a decade ago are now off-limits.
“My personal life is my personal life. It’s closed doors, and you know, it’s built me into the person I am today,’ he said. The humble Bowditch, 31, might have to talk himself up a little more because shrugging “I’m not trying to be a worldbeater” doesn’t cut it anymore.
He took 146 starts on the PGA Tour to win his second title. Headliner Jason Day had two from 153 starts before his third in February and Rickie Fowler took 142 starts to grab his second.
Bowditch, up to No.63 in the world, wins a return invitation to the Masters next year but knows high weeks and missed cuts will continue.
“It’s basically the way my career has been my whole life. When it’s good, it’s good and when it’s not I’m just trying to hang on and make some cuts,” Bowditch said. “That shot on the 17th, my stomach hit the floor when it took off the club face ... I blocked it right 30 feet and just ended up lucky.”
Bowditch may have been living in the Dallas area for a decade but he’s still follows the Newcastle Knights and is fiercely Aussie.
“I’m Australian born and bred. I’ll never forget where I come from and where I belong and always that’s my home,” Bowditch said.
“Texas is my home right now ... and there’s no state tax, right.”
JIM TUCKER’S GOLF COLUMN, P56