Golf gods are a joke, of course, something or somebody unseen to kick around when we are chastened. It beats throwing clubs.
There are moments, though, when, if you have an ounce of romance beneath that logo, you sense that something is going on out there, that maybe fate is dealing the play.
I can think of no more vivid example than what happened to Ben Crenshaw en route to winning the 1984 Masters.
Standing in the 13th fairway, waiting for the green to clear and trying to decide whether to go for the green in two on that flirty par-five or lay up. His hand went to a fairway wood and his father, watching from behind the ropes, said to a companion, I hope he doesnt do that.
Crenshaw didnt hear him but he was looking at the gallery, trying to find his dad, when his eyes fell on a figure lit by a shaft of sunlight coming through the trees. It was Billy Joe Patton, who had gone for the green on the 13th in two in 1954, hit into the water while leading the Masters and lost.
It was, Ben figured, a message from the gods of golf or something akin. He put the wood back, pulled out an iron, laid up, made par and went on his way to a green jacket.
Crenshaw won it again in 1995 and it was as if the game wanted to put an arm around his shoulders.
His beloved tutor Harvey Penick had died earlier in the week. Crenshaw and Tom Kite flew to Austin, Tex., and served as pallbearers. Crenshaw called another friend of Penicks, Davis Love III, and urged him to stay in Augusta and rest and get ready for the Masters. Love had kept a torturous schedule trying to qualify for the Masters and had just gotten in by winning the previous Sunday.
After Crenshaw had holed the winning putt and doubled over in tears of relief and joy and memory of his lifelong teacher, Love, who had battled him all the way to the end before finishing second by a shot, said, "If Id been beaten by any other player, Id be more disappointed."
And Crenshaw said, "I wish it wasnt him who is in second place."
It was a perfect ending to one of the most heart-warming stories golf has had to offer. The golf gods, or somebody or something, got it right.