‘Taddy Boy’ is the king ... for a weekend
THE little girl sitting on dad's shoulders eating shave ice was yelling.
They were all yelling, yesterday. They were everywhere, along the ropes. It was a mob scene, after 18. It was a mosh pit of love.
He was the Beatles.
Everyone calling his name.
"All this hype and everything is pretty cool," Tadd Fujikawa would tell the nine or 10 cameras that had gathered around.
You wonder who else knows what this feels like. Michelle Wie, sure. Jasmine Trias, yes. Yuval Katz, maybe.
Before that you might have to go all the way back to the Fabulous Five.
Tom Moffatt, the time he pretended to be Elvis, and drove that car through the street.
But then, Moffatt only pretended to be Elvis. Yesterday, Fujikawa was the king.
They came to see him, to cheer him, to be there, to breathe his rarefied air.
"I'm not sure how many people were out there," he said, "but I'm sure this is the biggest crowd I've ever seen in my life."
"Can you see him?" someone said, and no, you couldn't. Not in the midst of that crowd.
(Remember, Kid Dynamite is just 5-foot-1.)
But he was in there somewhere, you could tell by the oohs and the ahs. You could see those shots fly. You could look at the standings (at one point he had the clubhouse lead), count the birdies (six).
You could hear the roar.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Moanalua's Tadd Fujikawa will tee off with Jim Furyk in the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii today.
Tadd Fujikawa, 16, youngest to make a PGA Tour cut in 50 years, shot another 66 yesterday at the Sony Open in Hawaii, 4 under again.
The gallery was ga-ga. And again, so was he.
He was the Beatles, he was Elvis.
Not everyone wants this. Most of us couldn't take this. It would be too easy to be lost in the emotion, overwhelmed at the attention.
The cameras surrounded him. "Sorry, spacing out here ... what was the question again?" he said.
It can be suffocating, this level of sudden fame.
If you're not careful it can swallow you whole.
But the only thing that swallowed Fujikawa yesterday was his father's embrace, after, when dad told "Taddy Boy," eh, come here, he was pau being famous, for a moment. Back to family time.
And then his dad put him in a headlock of love.
No worry, this kid will stay level head.
He's a spotlight seeker yet humble, if that makes any sense. Afterward, he used "lucky" almost as often as "fun."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tadd Fujikawa matched his magical 66 on Friday with another one yesterday to head into the final round tied for eighth.
"Absolutely not," he said. "I'm not playing for money. This isn't my job. I'm just out here having fun, just soaking up all of the moments and just -- I'm just out here doing my best. And if it works out, great."
It's working out. He sank a ridiculous birdie putt on No. 11 ("I don't know how far that putt was," he would say). Had a great draw on 12. Hit a tree branch on 18 but then got a nice ruling, a free drop.
"So I guess Hawaii was kind of behind me on that one, kind of lucky," he said.
(You know who was lucky? Me. That ball looked like it was coming right at me. Luckily for me, 30 feet up. Unluckily for him, right into a tree.)
He could have melted, right there. The kid put himself into position for birdie, then saved par.
He's tough. He's an amateur, a kid, he should be buried by this. He's already made history, he could feel free to fade away. Instead he's still smiling, another 66. Loving this. Reveling in it. He's as tough as they come.
"You know," he said, "I'm a person who likes to know what I need to do. That's just the kind of person I am where if I have a goal, I will do anything to get there. If I have something to shoot for where, you know, I'm one back or two back of the leader and I know I need to make birdies, then I'm going to do my best to do that."
He's that kind of tough.
Making the cut was one thing. It's another to come back the next day and end it tied for eighth.
His goal is to "stay in the moment," he said.
So no, the moment won't get him. The game might -- golf gets everyone, it's that kind of game; golf may catch up to him yet. But not this moment, no. He's built for this, was born for it.
Stay in that moment, kid. Breathe it in. It's rarefied air.