Archive for the ‘Mackenzie Hughes’ Category

U.S. Open - Round OneEarlier this summer, a great many golf fans became acquainted with the seemingly miraculous story of Mackenzie Hughes. The introduction was almost as fortuitous as the culmination of circumstances that led the young Canadian to an entry at the U.S. Open in his first year as a professional.

The underdog may not have triumphed on the course at the Merion Golf Club in mid-June, but Hughes gave us something for which we could have little difficulty cheering: an upstart long-shot whose sense of awe at his own proximity to golf’s superstars was something that we might possess if we were to ever warm up for a practice round beside Tiger Woods.

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U.S. Open - Round OneHere is a hypothetical situation: There are two teams, A and B, preparing to meet in a best-of-seven playoff series for a sport’s championship. Team A is highly favored to win. Team B is not. For which team would you root?

In 1991, two researchers from Bowling Green State University posed this scenario to more than a hundred college students. Eighty-one percent chose the underdog.

Sports offer us a constant conflict of expectations from which stories are allowed to play out. The devoted sports fan follows statistics, measures performance and allows herself or himself to feel the emotions associated with winning and losing. This is all done as a means of enhancing the competitions we watch to the point of a narrative. This is the attraction. We are drawn to narratives, and the most appealing narratives include the unlikely.

However, in works of fiction there is a certain point to which the boundaries of believability can extend. Typically, these restrictions do not exist in sports, although this distinction has recently been put to the test by a 22-year-old golfer from Dundas, Ontario, named Mackenzie Hughes.

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