Robert Damron was apprehensive. The personable pro had turned 50 last October, and yeah, the PGA Tour Champions is made for the 50-and-over bunch. But yeah, he hadn’t played in a while, and nerves salivate over that thought.
He’d come around, though. There he was last week, at Norwood Country Club in St. Louis.
And then his wife went into a port-a-potty on Saturday on the 8th hole.
Didn’t see that coming, did you? But the story here is at least … something.
Let’s talk Damron here first. He’s been a pro since 1994. He won once on the PGA Tour, at the 2001 Byron Nelson. He nearly won the event again three years later. He made over $6 million in prize money. Solid. But he stopped. In an interview three years with Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch, he had been fighting driver yips. Damron took an analyst gig with Golf Channel.
Then 50 came and he started to wonder. Then he stopped. Then he started again.
“I wasn’t ready,” he said on a video shared last week by the PGA Tour Champions. “I didn’t know if I truly wanted to. And I go, I know I’ll play some, and I want to play some. It’s like a fraternity out here, so I get to come out and see my buddies, guys I haven’t seen in so long. And I wanted to practice enough to where I, like I said, I’m not going to finish last. And for about six months, I was going, ‘Oh, I’m going to finish last. I stink.’
“And I thought I’d take a little while to get it back. No big deal. But it really wasn’t until recent that I felt like I can go shoot a score. You know, I’ll be what, 51 late October — it’s not like it’s forever ago I turned 50, but it’s further back than I care to think about. I’m going to stand on the tee on Friday and I have no idea what to expect. Will I feel fine? Will I be nervous? Will I be swinging well? Will I not? Who knows? I hope I’m swinging well. We’ll see.”
And yeah, there he was last week, at Norwood Country Club in St. Louis, for the Ascension Charity Classic. Earlier this summer, he had played the Senior Open at Royal Porthcawl in Wales, and now he was on a tour again. Last Friday, during the first round, Damron shot a one-under 70. On Saturday, during the second round, he was three shots worse.
On Saturday, he took to the site formerly known as Twitter. He shared this, at 6:56 p.m. Eastern time:
“So lucky to have my first @ChampionsTour start be at @AscensionCCG. What a first class event ! Played bad today but at least my wife didn’t lose my courtesy car keys down the depths of a full porta potty……oh wait…she did….”
Then, at 8:15 p.m. ET, he wrote this:
“The keys have been found at the bottom of the worst vile filth imaginable. They’ll probably make us buy the car.”
There are details.
A hat tip to the curious minds on the PGA Tour Champions social media team, who wondered what happened with Damron and his wife, Molly, tracked down the pro on Sunday, recorded the conversation and shared it.
Here then is Damron’s telling of it all:
“Yeah, I get done. Crappy is a very good way to describe how I played. It wasn’t good. I struggled off the tee all day long and somehow only shot a couple over. I don’t even know how, but a lot of luck. And then, just to make the day so much better and brighter, my wife sheepishly looks at me in the parking lot later and goes, ‘I don’t have the keys. I dropped them in a porta-potty back on 8.’
“And I go, ‘What do you mean, dropped them in a porta-potty — like around?’ No, no, no, in the porta-potty.
“So last night, we took one of the sanitation workers — bless his heart — out to where she thinks she dropped them. He had this stick. I’m holding the door open, he’s fishing around — nothing.
“Last night, I get a text from tournament director. ‘We found your keys.’ They were pumping it out last night.”
At this point in the video, Damron held up a sealed-shut plastic bag holding the keys.
“As a matter of fact, I’ve got them right here. They’re not going to be touched by human hands again. They’re staying in this baggie. They’re definitely a biohazard, but they work.”
There’s still more.
On Sunday, during the final round, Damron shot a 68. He tied for 45th. Good stuff. If there were nerves, he hid them well. But slightly ahead of the end of the tournament, the PGA Tour Champions then shared the video — which drew this response from Damron.
“Thanks to @AscensionCCG for being so understanding and patient! And as per our arrangement I’ll never bring Molly back to St Louis again!!”