Until yesterday, I had never heard of John Singleton. Chances are, you hadn’t heard of him until just now.
He’s a factory worker from Birkenhead, England, a town just down the street from Royal Liverpool golf course. On a typical Thursday, he’d be working in a resin factory a few miles away. This Thursday, he teed it up in the Open Championship.
A 1,000-to-1 longshot, Singleton didn’t come in to the tournament with big plans to contend. In fact, he had to borrow two wedges from a friend just to qualify, which he did by shooting 72-66 in the final qualifying stage.
But what he did plan on doing this week was having the time of his life, and he’s been doing a fine job of that.
After he had to back off his first tee shot (maybe the moment got to him, maybe someone sneezed, as he claimed), he ripped one down the middle in his first ever stroke in the Open. And he was pumped up about it, too.
Singleton didn’t play particularly well on Thursday, firing a 78, but he provided us all with inspiration. After the round, in his thick Liverpool accent, Singleton called the day one he’ll never forget.
I’ll never forget it either.
Singleton went out there and fulfilled his dream, soaking up every moment of it, knowing that each shot would live on in his mind forever. I hope this won’t be the last we hear from him, but the odds are that Singleton will never play in an Open Championship again.
The odds are that I won’t either, but growing up as a kid it was always my dream to play in a major championship and have that putt to win it on 18. John Singleton had that same dream and he chased it down.
Being a full-time employee at the factory, Singleton didn’t have much time to work on his game, but he did anyway. Three days a week (and on the weekends), Singleton would go from work to the range, working toward his goal of playing in the Open just minutes from his hometown.
And he did it. He accomplished what he had dreamed of accomplishing his whole life. He got to tee it up in the Open with all of his friends and family watching. Hell, he shut down the factory for the day- his bosses decided to give everyone the day off so they could go and watch John play in the oldest championship in golf.
Sure, he missed the cut, but he made a hell of a run at it. With the cut line looming at +2, Singleton was +7 at the turn during Friday’s round. But Singleton didn’t quit. He hadn’t come this far to go down that easily.
Singleton made birdie on 10, but gave it back on 14. Things looked dire. But then things turned around- Singleton made dramatic birdies on 15 and 16 to get back to +5. The cut line was in sight, as 18 is eagleable for someone with Singleton’s power.
He went on to par 17, putting the cut out of reach. But still, Singleton didn’t quit. He birdied 18 to cap off his incredible British Open experience, one that finished with three birdies in his last four holes.
Singleton arrived at just the right time- right in the middle of Jimmy V week, when we are reminded never to give up. Singleton didn’t and he was rewarded for it. It didn’t come easily for the 30-year-old, but he never quit, and in the end he made it.
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Be more like Singleton.
Self admittedly, he’s just a regular guy. But he’s a regular guy that never forgot his dream. And once he achieved it, he had the time of his life.
Odds are I’ll never play in an Open Championship. But if John Singleton can do it, so can I.