The automotive dealership responsible for putting up a free car as the prize for a putting challenge at an Ole Miss Men’s Basketball game last weekend probably didn’t think it would actually have to make good on its offer. To win the vehicle, a contestant had to sink a 94-foot putt in front of a crowd of spectators. Such a test of skill and nerve would challenge even the most skilled athlete. Whoever stepped up to confront this trial would surely fail, the managers of the dealership must have thought.
They were wrong. They didn’t count on Mary Ann Wakefield, the 86-year-old putting master who has just emerged as the world’s latest sports hero.
In a clip that will live forevermore in the quiet, grassy halls of Golf Valhalla, we see Wakefield take position on the basketball court and stare down her objective. “Let’s see what she’s got!” the announcer says. Wakefield prepares for just a moment then shows the world what she has, in fact, got. The putt glides steadily down the court, rolling through the hole in a cardboard standee as if it was pulled there by magnets. Air horns blow, the crowd cheers, Wakefield is hugged by a shark mascot, and the “brand new 2020 Nissan Altima” is hers.
Study the look on her face just after she makes the putt. Soon enough, Wakefield’s moment of triumph will be emblazoned on posters hanging on the walls of kids’ bedrooms the world over. Her champion’s smile will shine out from the corner of Wheaties boxes, inspiring would-be Wakefields to practice their putting day-in and day-out.
We can only hope that Wakefield’s personal scandals, which are soon to come as the inevitable price of fame, will be handled with the same determination and grace she showed with this putt.
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