Day 2 at TPC Southwind: A History Lesson
June 4, 2013
By: Glenn Hill II
MEMPHIS, TN- “If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree. ” Author Michael Crichton’s quote could not describe my knowledge about this tournament any better. With day one of reporting under my belt, day two took me back to the classroom. Well, not literally, but it was like I was back in school after being enthralled by one of the 1,800 volunteer’s seemingly infinite knowledge of many diverse subjects.
It all began on hole number 10, a lengthy par 4 with a slight dogleg left that 14 year old Guan Tianlang was seizing up on the tee box. After a couple of tee shots, Tianlang was off to begin his practice round of TPC Southwind and I wanted to witness this great talent again in person as long as I could. An unassuming volunteer decided to walk alongside me and we began discussing the endless talent Tianlang possessed. By the time we reached the 10th green we finally introduced ourselves to each other and I learned that the gentleman I was walking with was Dr. Phillip Pedigo. A former General Surgeon for Baptist, Methodist, and St. Francis hospitals nearly for 30 years, the now 80 year old Pedigo had a lot of pep in his step. Often I rattle off the name of this tournament without giving much thought to what I am saying. This is the FedEx St. Jude Classic and I often do not consider the levity of the name “St. Jude.”
I now have a better understanding of the impact and greatness of St. Jude and the work that they do in this community and around the world thanks to Dr. Pedigo. He talked to me about Danny Thomas and the inception of St. Jude, tracing its historic lineage to its most recent accomplishments. Dr. Pedigo taught me that Danny Thomas desired to create a hospital for serving children in dire need, free of charge. And Danny Thomas did just that, with results today that would probably tower above and beyond his wildest dreams. From discussing Danny Thomas to Billy Graham to Winston Churchill and back to Guan Tianlang, Dr. Pedigo and I had reached the 18th green with Tianlang’s group. I guess time flies when you are having a good time.
In the midst of having a truly encapsulating conversation with Dr. Pedigo, we were both watching Guan Tianlang practice and prepare for the FedEx St. Jude Classic. I have never witnessed a 14 year old prepare for a tournament like Tianlang has. With preparation like a professional and the mindset of a champion, Guan Tianlang motivates and inspires me to attain that level of focus in whatever I do in life. Tianlang’s preparation for this tournament mirrors real life situations.
For example, while Dr. Pedigo and I watched, as Guan hit four shots in the water from only 120 yards out on the par 4 15th,we looked at each other with shock and horror. “I think he’s just tired” was Dr. Pedigo’s initial response. I thought the same thing as it appeared that his father and coach were making swing gestures to help figure out Guan’s swing issue. A member of Guan’s entourage walked over and shared with us that Guan was practicing hitting fairway shots out of divots, trying to learn how the ball would react out of an often times unfortunate and precarious situation. That would explain the couple of lackluster shots that Tianlang struck, he was practicing shots that true professionals were working on. This is just one example of the kind of player Guan Tianlang is; he is good and sometimes lucky at the same time.
On the par 4 17th, Tianlang was practicing shots out of a greenside bunker. He had already hit one fifteen feet from the pin, but decided to attempt another one for good measure. This shot he caught a little thin as it soared across the green and hit the hospitality grandstand, bouncing back onto the green and rolling like a putt into the cup. Talk about a bank shot. More shots like that and Tianlang might have to turn pro sooner rather than later.
Glenn Hill II, a senior, is an exceptional student and talented musician at Harding Academy. He holds a 4.05 weighted grade point average and scored 28 on the ACT. He currently ranks fifth in the senior class. He has been selected for the All West Senior High Band, Orchestra and Junior Band. He also was 1st Chair in the University of Memphis Honor Blue Band (top band). He has been an orchestra member in two school musicals and was selected for All Southwest Chorus as a Tenor 2. An integral member of the school’s senior wind ensemble, jazz band and orchestra, Glenn is also the principal trombonist in the MemphisYouth Symphony. As a trombonist he has received many awards including junior band award as a freshman and the Barry Lumpkin Outstanding Musician Award as a junior. Last summer he was the recipient of the Summer Trombone Scholarship at the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts held at MTSU. Glenn is an extraordinary role model for younger students. He is vice-president of the senior wind ensemble and takes this leadership role seriously. He makes a positive impact daily and has the respect of his peers.