Golf: Goydos seeks no sympathy
By Doug Ferguson
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ó Paul Goydos has dreaded his return to The Players Championship more than any other tournament.
He earned a small measure of celebrity last year for his droll wit and utter graciousness in a playoff loss to Sergio Garcia on the notorious island green at the TPC Sawgrass.
That would mean more attention, more interview requests, more questions about being a single father on tour and the phone call Jan. 17 that rocked his life and that of his teenager daughters.
“I have a problem telling the story,” he said. “I have a problem reading the story. The more I think about it, the more tragic it becomes.”
Goydos, a 44-year-old journeyman by any standard, had spent the last five years juggling the emotional strain of the PGA Tour with raising Chelsea and Courtney, now 18 and 16, as his ex-wife battled a drug addiction stemming from a horrible bout with migraines.
He missed the cut in Honolulu, took the redeye home to southern California and was asleep upstairs when the phone rang with the news that his ex-wife, Wendy, had died at age 44.
“Telling my children, I’ll never forget that,” he said.
His children are doing better than he imagined.
Chelsea is a freshman at Saddleback Community College and has a job. Courtney, who joined her father for the ultimate working vacation last summer at the British Open, is a junior in high school.
Wendy’s mother and sister help out when Goydos is on the road, just like before.
The message from Goydos ó for himself, his daughters, for everyone ó is to remember the real victim in this tragedy.
“I’m a professional golfer,” Goydos said. “I think there’s a lot of people who would love to have that job. I’ve got two wonderful kids who I’m more proud of every day. The person who had it rough, I would say, is my ex-wife. My wife had an addiction problem, but the hardest thing to do is trying not to be an addict. She spent the last years of her life trying not to be an addict. That’s difficult. It’s a lot easier standing on the 17th hole at TPC in a playoff. You can’t compare the two.
“To equate the troubles and dealings that I’ve had to the dealings that she had to deal with is completely unfair to her, and to some extent, ridiculous.”