After Long Recovery, Severely Injured Cayeux Makes the Cut
People respond to adversity in different ways and to different degrees. Some fold their tent and silently steal away, finding more comfort in the ‘woe is me’ approach. Others keep their ‘boo-hoo’ very short, and do everything possible to get back in the game. We should know by now that when we’re talking to a proactive, talented player in a competitive game, we can’t tell them how much they will do, or how far they will come back. Ben Hogan had his injury. At first, they said he wouldn’t live, then they said he wouldn’t walk, and finally said he would not play golf again. He proved them all wrong, because he was an extraordinary person. People have come back from organ transplants and various tragedies, although many would and could not. In Marc Cayeux, however, we need to introduce ourselves to yet another remarkable person who dealt in the best way he could with a difficult story.
The English born Cayeux, living in Zimbabwe, was not an also-ran by any means when his tragic moment hit. He was a nine-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, and had qualified for the European Tour. That was all years ago, before he was involved in a serious auto accident with a police truck. I’m sure Cayeux got the story – you’ll never do this again, or you’ll never do that again. His legs were shattered, and his foot was almost severed in the accident. In the following years, Cayeux underwent 27 different surgeries, and against all odds, managed to walk again, although one leg was shorter than the other. But golf, with a reattached foot. How does one who can barely stand or take a step aligned swing a golf club with any effectiveness? Cayeux didn’t know, but he was certain to do everything he possibly could, with the help of a supportive wife and two children.
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Marc Cayeux didn’t bluster about playing again, or swear that he would wipe way the disaster in one fell swoop. He began to set goals to meet step-by-step, and every time a glimmer of improvement showed itself, he embraced it and took another professional step. He took what nature gave him, and parlayed it into everything possible, and seven years after the accident, he found himself back on the Sunshine Tour, playing golf. It wasn’t the golf he had once enjoyed. Cayeux talks about the shots he used to make, and how difficult it is to make them now. He talks about pain management, instead of going for hours to the driving range, which he would love to do. He knows that his swing requires a discipline that promotes smoothness, and that he must stay within the guidelines of his present condition. On the other hand, he shot a 66 this week in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Tournament, then followed it with a 71 on the second day, making the cut for the weekend for the first time in seven years and 27 surgeries. There is always another goal waiting in the wings for Cayeux. Now, it’s finding the strength to walk for two more days, but it sounds as if he’ll find a way to pas that milestone as well, if not this week, some other week. For now, he calls making the cut “another box ticked.”
There is a great deal to learn from such a story. For one, never tell a determined athlete what he or she wil; be able to do, even if you’re a physician. It teaches us what a strong man can do and how a strong family can hold up a strong man. It tells us that our own situation may not be as totally dire as we once thought, and that perhaps we are not out of options. When a golfer nearly dies, can’t walk, then shoots a 66 to make the cut, perhaps we need to reassess the human spirit. Perhaps the next milestone for Marc Cayeux is to win again, and maybe not in seven years.