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Today is the day we take it up one more level.
Yes, headline-writers rejoiced. This was the sort of hand-delivery that comes along once every few decades and so it was exclaimed: “His name is Mudd.”
Ba dum ching.
What got lost in the rush to complete the headline was the storyline: That Jodie Mudd had had a prolific amateur career and was a PGA TOUR winner in 1988 and 1989.
But at THE PLAYERS Championship 1990, staked to a one-stroke lead on rounds of 67-72-70, Mudd turned to his brother-caddie, Tommy, and quietly said, “Today is the day we take it up one more level.”
Much to the frustration of Mark Calcavecchia, who would finish second for the fourth time in the young PGA TOUR season, Mudd indeed stepped it up in this showcase event.
“It’s something I’ll always cherish,” the 29-year-old Mudd said after closing with a 2-under 69 to finish at 10-under 278, one clear of Calcavecchia. No one else was in contention as only Mudd and Calcavecchia scored well in trying conditions.
Birdies early (Nos. 2 and 3) and late (island-green 17th) were instrumental for Mudd, then in the midst of his best season. He would also win the TOUR Championship in the fall and finish fifth on the money list in 1990. Six years later, however, Mudd walked away from the game at the age of 36.
“He truly played golf because he loved it,” said Mark McCumber.
Nowhere was that love rewarded like it was in the spring of 1990 at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
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