While watching golf on TV, we often hear commentators refer to “bounce back” after players that have made double bogeys or worse follow them up with birdies or eagles. This bounce back indicates grit and fight in players that overcome adverse situations. For many of us, one of the greatest bounce backs in recent years of golf was when Tiger Woods won his first major championship in 1997 with his first Masters victory.

Tiger started the tournament shooting 4 over par on his first nine holes of this highly acclaimed Major Championship. After the horrific start, Tiger gathered himself to turn things around and not only won the tournament but also absolutely destroyed the field by 12 strokes over second-place veteran Tom Kite. Tiger not only lapped everyone playing after his terrible start, but also, he broke Jack Nicklaus’ Masters scoring record by one shot. That was a bounce back to remember.

All adversity in life offers opportunities for bounce back. There are countless stories of people who spent most of their lives struggling but kept trudging on to finally achieve success.

Presently, I see America and Americans in a position not unlike the one in which Tiger found himself on the front nine of his first Masters: Think of coronavirus as the bogey.

Many of us think that we are losing ground and helpless. A vaccine to help people develop immunity against the virus has not been found or approved, and it may be in early 2021 before one is available. Things are tough right now: Our economy is in a perilous situation; countless people have lost jobs; many people have fallen ill; and too many have died. The public and public officials have conflicting ideas on how to best combat this virus. Yes, this is a difficult time for us all.

Although we may feel stifled for the time being by staying at home to slow the spread of the disease, at some point – hopefully very soon – I believe our nation will head to the 10th tee, as Tiger did in 1997, with an attitude the likes of which has not been seen since the conclusion of World War II. I have a gut feeling that there will be a new and greater sense of pride in working, earning a living and being an American. I can honestly foresee a surge in our economy on the horizon and improvement in our nation with a rekindled attitude that will make America and most of the world a better place. I don’t believe it will happen overnight, but I do believe that it will happen.

Sometime this summer, we will watch sporting events on TV with a different feeling, as many of these will be hosted without fans; however, the fans will be allowed inside the gates again. I have no idea what the plans are for college and NFL football for this upcoming year, but I do believe that games will be played in 2020 – even if the season has to be extended into next spring. Things will most certainly be different over this next year or so, but just as the sun will come up tomorrow, we will bounce back. 

This horrible virus has given our country the wake-up call that we needed in American manufacturing. I wholeheartedly believe that many manufacturing facilities will reopen in industries that moved to other nations over the past 20-30 years. Personally, I would love to see our textile industry return to the United States. Although we may initially pay a slightly higher price for some products, we will be a stronger and more self-supportive nation if our manufacturing is returned to us. This also would give our country the opportunity to drive unemployment in the U.S.A. down to levels not seen in years. What a bounce back this could be.

Regardless of how and when we come out of this present situation, we will come out of it. We may be intrigued to watch as history is being made. Nothing or nobody truly sits totally still; there is always constant motion. There is a start, a middle and an end to everything. We all remember the start of this pandemic. Presently, we are in the middle of it, and we will certainly get through it to see it end. 

I have great hopes that our grandchildren will study in school how America and Americans showed the character and tenacity to make it through this pandemic that we presently experiencing. I would dearly love to see a sequel to Tom Brokaw’s book, The Greatest Generation, written about our present generation. I hope that this book would show the remarkable bounce back that we made after kicking the stew out of COVID-19. I would buy that book; I bet Tiger’s grandkids would buy it, too.

Stay safe and stay well.

~Dave Jennings is the men's golf coach at Central Alabama Community College.