Imagine winning the 2017 U.S. Amateur event, defeating the then-ranked #3 amateur in the world and accepting an invitation to play in one of the world’s largest golf events, the 2018 U.S. Open. Now imagine having possibly one of the absolute worst rounds of your young career, shooting a +13 at Shoal Creek and coming in dead last in the 164 player field. Cue to a few hours later, you’re trying to unwind and forget about how poorly the day went on a course that had been water logged for 2 days and had allowed very little preparation for an event of this size. You’re probably tired, mentally exhausted and sick of just about everyone telling you, “Don’t worry. You’ll get ’em next time!” Then…as you’re waiting for the elevator in your hotel to take you up to your room…?
I was looking to unwind after a long day also. The FOX production crew had been in the truck for over 10 hours, on the air for 7 of them and without commercial breaks for over 5 hours. My co-workers and I had just wrapped up dinner and were calling it a night. As we walked up to the elevator, Sophia Schubert and her parents were standing there with her golf bag in tow. Now…I have to be honest…I didn’t know how Schubert’s day had gone at the time. During our on-air window, I imagine we saw maybe 70 or so golfers. But I DID remember her gray shirt (most of the golfers wear white or bright colors) and that set her apart. I also remembered that we ran a story about her and her 2017 Amateur win. So I ASSUMED that she probably had at least a somewhat decent day and, looking to be nice to a stranger in an elevator, I chose to say the following…
“Nice round today!”
After a brief moment, her mother turned to me and said…”Do you want her to punch you? That was the worst round she’s ever had in her life!” Now…I’d like to say things took a turn for the worse from there and that there was a all-out brawl in the elevator as we made our way to the 8th floor but there wasn’t. Actually….it was a very cordial conversation and I found her and her parents to be rather nice. Little did I know that this young lady had actually HAD the absolute WORST ROUND OF HER LIFE. I didn’t find that out until maybe 30 minutes later when my co-worker, Ben, texted me that Sophia had come in last in the field for the First Round.
Needless to say, I felt bad about it. So bad that I decided to blurb about it on Facebook so I could let the world know what an idiot I am. And let’s face it…it’s also a little bit funny to me considering….what are the odds that the one golfer I actually got to meet this weekend was the one that had the worst day of her life? The odds are pretty slim. And yet…here I am…writing about this encounter in hopes that this young lady who has a megaton of potential will someday see this, possibly remember the encounter and laugh along with me. I know her parents understood. They were probably thinking in their heads what an idiot I was at the time…but I get that. When my kids don’t do well, it makes me a little bit crazy also. But her parents were very nice about it and as we split directions on our floor, they said “Goodnight” and wished me well.
Anyway…the point of this post is that I often say the best thing about conversations in an elevator is that they are short and usually meaningless. Just a fleeting moment when you can get to talk to someone and then part ways, often times never speaking again. If Sophia Schubert and I never meet again, I’d be okay with that. However, if there is a chance that she happens to read this someday, I would hope that it will be after she’s won a major tournament somewhere and she’s fully recovered from this weekend and it makes her laugh a little. She was perfectly nice in the elevator despite running into me and I can’t imagine how she must have felt after having such a bad day. So I apologize to Sophia and I look forward to seeing her on tv and at some point winning a bunch of golf tournaments and having a successful career. As for me…I’m thinking maybe I’ll just keep to myself on the elevator from now on.
Consider it a lesson learned.