It was nearly 2:00 AM when I came upon the story of Manuel de Los Santos. I'd gotten in late and intended only to answer a couple of emails before turning in. I was looking forward to sleep.
But as always, I decided to have a quick look at a couple of my favorite blogs. And one blog led to another... and when I got to Stephanie Wei's always engaging Wei Under Par... that's when I found the extraordinary tale of Manuel de los Santos.
It's a narrative that's so inspiring... so heartening and motivating and uplifting, that I just couldn't not write about it.
Manuel de Los Santos is a golfer who came to the game in a truly extraordinary way. You could actually say he came to golf via baseball, because as a young boy growing up in the Dominican Republic he had been groomed for the game they call America's Pastime, and had already been recruited by the Toronto Blue Jays.
When tragedy struck in the form of a devastating car crash and led to the amputation of his leg, baseball was no longer a possibility. He tried to come to grips with that reality as best he could.
He married his Spanish girlfriend and they moved to France where she worked. It was there that he saw the Will Smith golf movie, The Legend of Bagger Vance... and got the first inclination of what he wanted his future to be: Golf.`
The story of what happened over the next couple of years is one of relentless determination and exceptional talent. It took him two years to get to a three handicap. Manuel is at St Andrews this weekend where he's playing in the Dunhill Links Championship and inspiring the entire field.
Already the life of Mr. de Los Santos has been a remarkable adventure, and I'm certain we'll be hearing much more about this unique player with his radient smile and masses of talent. Here's a look at how he plays. Warning: it