Ranked a lowly 300th in the world, Brad Adamonis wasn't expected to be just two shots off the lead after the first round of the Players Championship yesterday. Even fewer people expected his dad to be there, walking the first 13 holes alongside his son.
Adamonis' father, Dave, has just 12 months to live thanks to terminal lung cancer.
It's just the latest diagnosis for the golf coach at Miami's Johnson and Wales University, who, by all conventional wisdom, shouldn't even be alive to receive it. Adamonis also has lymphoma, over the last four years has survived prostate, throat, and lung cancers. He was even read his last rites a few years ago when a severe internal infection followed routine surgery.
"My wife says, 'Only walk a few holes,' and I said, 'Yup, OK,' but I wasn't going to listen to her," Dave, 62, told the Palm Beach Post after having to finish the last five holes in a cart. "I was going to find all the shortcuts. I was determined to make it work."
It's no surprise, then, that his son finds the courage to face down an intimidating field and even more intimidating course.
The Coral Springs resident/Lake Worth pro, in his second season on the tour, had only a 9th place finish and two missed cuts to his name so far -- none of which led anyone to believe he was capable of a five-under-par-67 on one of the toughest, most challenging courses in golf. After yesterday's round, he has as many birdies (7) as Tiger and Phil combined.
"Here he is, a guy that has had nine lives, fighting through his sickness," Brad Adamonis said. "If he can do that, I feel like I can give a little extra playing golf, especially when he's around."
No matter what happens over the course of the tournament, two men who would have settled for just spending time together now have an opening round to remember.
"It didn't make any difference what he shot today," Dave said. "Just being at a championship like this, seeing my son have the opportunity of his life, and then playing well on top of that, it's pretty emotional."
And for those of us who'd rather do, well, just about anything rather than tune into golf on television, it gives us a reason to watch - and keep our fingers crossed for both of them.