LOUISVILLE — The world's top pros make golf look easy on TV. It's rare when someone gets the opportunity to actually test himself under the same conditions as elite athletes.
Keith Reese is a teaching pro at Valhalla Golf Club, host of the Senior PGA Championship. He played as a marker so Tim Parun would not have to play by himself in the first tee time of Sunday's final round.
It was a revelation.
"Probably through the sixth hole I was so nervous it was hard to swing the club," said Reese, who was greeted by applause on most holes. "But it was a lot of fun. So I can see what these guys go through now. I can't imagine being in the lead in a major, but I guess these guys have done it, and that's what they do."
Reese, who is 46, knows the course. He's a terrific golfer. And he still struggled, shooting an 80.
Even though he's roughly in the same career field as the Hale Irwins, Tom Watsons and Nick Prices of the world, he got a new appreciation for their nerves, guile and ability.
"Wow, how difficult is that? I've seen how difficult it is now, to keep your composure and be able to hit shots," he said. "You've got people watching every shot, so you feel like you have to hit a good shot. When the fans start clapping for your shots, it gives you such an unbelievable feeling."