‘Taddy Boy’ took everyone along for this exhilarating ride
MY smile muscles still hurt.
My tear ducts? Toast.
If chicken skin persists for longer than 4 hours should you tell a doctor?
I'm telling everybody.
Everyone who saw it is telling everybody today.
Remember when Michelle Wie made a run at making the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii a few years ago?
This was bigger.
Remember how good that felt?
This was better.
Tadd Fujikawa eagled on 18 yesterday, and then he dropped his putter in disbelief. Threw his arms in the air. And then the first conscious thought hit him, amid the flood of emotion, and he did the Tiger fist pump, just for fun, what the heck.
"It was like the loudest roar I ever heard in my life," he would say.
He had the biggest smile I've ever seen in mine.
Tadd Fujikawa, Moanalua sophomore, nice local kid, Taddy Boy, just became the second-youngest golfer to make a cut on the PGA Tour.
He did the fist pump.
Just for fun. What the heck.
"That was unbelievable," he said. "I have no words to explain what that feels like."
I empathize with his problem. I'm reaching, too.
And you could see that in him, even before the eagle, even before he'd wrapped up the cut. He was dreaming. He was floating.
He loves this stuff, soaks it up.
You could see it even before he made history. He had a red face, shame smile. Easy laugh. Couldn't help it, couldn't hold back.
Describe it like that and it sounds like he was drunk, and when you think about it, he was.
And this drunk is legal, even if he isn't.
He turned 16 on Monday. Yesterday, at Waialae Country Club, in the Sony Open in Hawaii's second round, he put himself in golf's history book. And then a roar like he'd never heard.
"I think just having all of these people just lining the fairway every single hole, it's amazing," he would say, "and it's kind of intimidating from the tee, but when you walk off and into the fairway, you know, they are all cheering you on, and it's just great, unbelievable."
He waved to them all, everyone. If you yelled at him yesterday he said hi back. He did cap tips and nods. Nonstop. Have you seen Martin Short work an audience, basking in applause?
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tadd Fujikawa showed more than golf skill yesterday in making the Sony cut. He showed a knack for handling the spotlight.
Some people are born for the spotlight.
Even without the tournament sunburn, this kid glows.
Everyone who saw him smile glowed, too, yesterday. Everyone who was on 18 was floating, couldn't believe it, was living his dream.
Everyone was with him, he made sure of that.
As he lined up his final putt, someone yelled out "Go Tadd!" from the stands. He stopped and stood and nodded again.
Don't want to be impolite.
Did he acknowledge every single person in the gallery at some point during those 18 holes?
"I did my best," he would say.
That's who he is, what he does. This is what he lives for, this feeling. These fans.
That moment walking up 18, when his playing partners hung back and let him walk ahead, the way you would for a champion. The camera on him, the way it is for a star.
"Everything was happening so quick," he would say.
The chicken skin kept coming. Those tears kept threatening.
My smile muscles still hurt.
This wasn't just his score, 66, or being 3 under on the tournament, or the history of making the cut. No, this is about who he is, his smile, the way he handled it, the fun he gave us, how it felt.
Oh, this guy's a serious golfer, lives to practice, hits all the big-time mainland tournaments even if he is a public-school kid. He may be more Michelle Wie than we realize. But there's his smile, an amateur's innocence, a 16-year-old kid waving at everyone he passes, all of them drunk on being with him in this is-this-really-happening dream. An eagle in a tournament, a Tiger fist pump, just for fun.
"I don't know if you guys know how good that feels," he would say.
We do. Now we do.