Golfers have a few pet phrases for what Bronson Burgoon of Texas A&M was going through yesterday afternoon, and about the only one we can repeat in polite company is that he was spittin' up all over himself.
His match against Arkansas' Andrew Landry was the last on the course at Inverness Club. Their teams were tied 2-2. Hundreds of fans were trailing in the fairways, lending a British Open air, and surrounding the greens. Only the national championship of men's college golf was on the line.
Burgoon was 4-up with five holes to play. And then he was 3-up. And 2-up. And 1-up. And then he and Landry walked to the 18th tee all square. A lady in a T-shirt that said, "Calling the Hogs: Wooo Pig Sooie" was so excited she could hardly contain
Another lady, Julie
Higgins, was pretty sure she was going to, well, spit up all over herself. And it wouldn't have been the first time.
Julie is married to J.T. Higgins, who is Texas A&M's tall, dashing, cool, calm, collected, unflappable head coach. Julie, on the other hand, is a train wreck. She's a pulmonary embolism waiting to happen. J.T. is a well-pressed suit. Julie is what's left after a tornado pile drives a small town.
Julie said she was so nervous she twice became violently sick to her stomach, and that was BEFORE the Aggies left their hotel early yesterday morning. You can only imagine what Bronson Burgoon's act was doing to her.
After the 17th hole, as the crowd was sprinting into position along the 18th fairway, J.T. Higgins ambled up to the reeling Burgoon, put his arm around the senior, and said, "Son, I wouldn't want anyone else in the world to play this hole."
Then Burgoon pushed his final drive right, up the hill into high rough near three pot bunkers, and Julie was beginning to individually rip every strand of hair from her skull.
Landry was in the middle of the fairway, but he hit first and saw his ball land well short of the pin, almost spinning back off the front.
Burgoon had 125 yards to the flag. He took a full swing with his gap wedge, yelled "Go!" and watched as the ball cleared the front bunkers, settled onto the green, caught the ridge perfectly, and rolled to a stop 124 yards, 9 inches from where it began.
Texas A&M won the national championship with a shot for the ages at the end of a match that won't soon be forgotten by players, coaches, and fans of either side.
Burgoon pumped his fist and screamed, picked up his bag, and then dropped it an instant before a teammate leaped into his arms. Other Aggies, watching from near the green, sprinted in his direction. J.T. Higgins applauded. Julie started crying. When Burgoon reached the green, Landry amiably stuck his hand out for a fist tap.
It was a remarkable way for one team to win and, truthfully, a pretty neat way for the other team to lose too. No regrets. No sense of failure. The Razorbacks just got wooo-pig-sooied by one marvelous swing of a golf club.
"I gave it pretty much all I've got," the gutsy Landry said moments later. "The guy does that, all I can do is say 'nice shot.'•"
When it was over, Julie Higgins rushed onto the green and embraced Burgoon. One minute he was killing her, the next he provided one of the thrills of her life.
"She lives and dies with every shot," J.T. said, watching his wife of eight years from the edge of the green. "We talk to the guys about composure and poise. So we can't afford for both of us to be that crazy."
But with a shot like that at the end of a match like that, with Aggie golf's first-ever NCAA trophy in hand, with college golf's most memorable national championship in the books and with the A&M flag planted in the cup on the 18th green, crazy was the order of the day.