It may have taken him a long time to get there, but his perseverance has paid off. In the millions.
Daleville native Brian Gay won his fourth PGA tournament event Sunday, beating Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth in a playoff. Gay garnered slightly more than $1 million for his efforts, making everything he claims in prize money in 2013 pure gravy.
For years he was whispered among the best players on tour to have never won. But he kept plugging away, eventually learning how to capture a title on the final day, just as he did Sunday, firing an incredible 63 to come from six shots back when the round began. He beat Howell III with a par on the second hole of a sudden death playoff.
I remember him from years ago when both he and Howell III played in the Future Masters here. A quiet, reserved young man, he came into his own when he went to the University of Florida, becoming one of the top players in the SEC.
I was teeing off with local golf buddies at Orange County National in central Florida a few years ago when our starter noted we had a southern accent. He asked where we were from and when we told him Dothan, he said “You may have heard of my son, Brian Gay.”
Yep, we had, and now, all the pro golf world has. He’s a model for plodders in any sport. Keep going. Things just might turn your way one day.
For once, the two-week hype surrounding a Super Bowl probably warrants it. In an amazing accomplishment, a set of brothers got their respective teams to the NFL title game by winning conference championships on Sunday. Jim Harbaugh, a year his brother John’s junior at age 49, led the San Francisco 49ers from a 17-0 deficit against the Falcons, winning 28-24. They will meet John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens, 28-13 victors at New England, in New Orleans Feb. 3rd for the World Championship.
Both men are tremendous coaches, and didn’t hesitate to take a risk when their seasons were at a pivotal point. Jim benched veteran quarterback Alex Smith, who took the Niners to the NFC title game a year ago, in favor of youngster Colin Kaepernick, installing the read-option and giving defenses fits in the process. John, meanwhile, fired his offensive coordinator with five games to go in the regular season and then went on to beat both Denver and New England on the road in consecutive upsets.
Now, the Niners are 4-point favorites, but look for an exciting game with a unique story line. Brother vs. Brother, that’s something.
The Senior Bowl hosted hundreds of NFL scouts Monday, allowing them to get accurate readings on the prospects coming out in April. The most shocking figure? The real weight of four-year Auburn workhorse Onterrio McCaleb. Listed his entire career at 173 pounds, he tipped the scales in front of the scouts at 164, meaning he likely played some games on the Plains he was in the 150-55 range. Amazing when you think about it.
Phil Paramore’s column appears Tuesdays in The Dothan Eagle. He can be heard weekdays from noon until 2 on AM 560 WOOF, 100.1 FM or www.woofradio.com. He can be reached at the same website