Grand Traverse Resort, Acme, MI — June 13, 2019
Fenton’s Darren Husse did not get to raise the winner’s trophy at this week’s Michigan Open Championship. A 3rd round score of 77 gave him a tournament total of 1under par. Leader Eric Lilleboe from Okemos, MI, posted a 65 for the lowest score of Day 3. Darren and Lilleboe started Wednesday’s play tied at 6 under. A 12 stroke disadvantage would have been a huge number of strokes to make up in one day.
As it turned out neither player will add to their total as the final round of the tournament was rained out. Darren finished tied for 9th out of 200 golfers, and he is just fine with it. His fans are most likely more disappointed that he is not sitting at the top of the leaderboard. It’s a matter of perspective.
Already a Winner
Regardless of the outcome of any tournament he plays in, Darren is already a winner. In our story at the start of the Michigan Open Championship, we chronicled Darren’s health issues. Talking about his symptoms Darren said, “It was a motor function issue. My hands would shake really bad, and it got so bad I couldn’t write my name, I couldn’t eat because my hands were shaking, I had trouble even holding on to a golf club because my hands were going all over the place.” That was 6 years ago.
Doctors performed surgery where they inserted a pacemaker in his chest with wires leading not to his heart, but to his brain. The positioning was such that it would not interfere with his golf swing. The wires run up his neck to the portion of his brain that controls motor skills.
A Career Put on Hold
A promising young golfer with a huge upside, Darren was ready to live his dream as a professional golfer when things short-circuited in his head. It’ been a long road back since the surgery. Darren said his game is progressing well and he’s close to being able to compete at a very high level again.
We asked if his symptoms are 100% gone. “They will never go away completely, I had to learn to manage them. No caffeine, no alcohol, and I have to watch my diet.” He said. “I use a long putter which helps, I am putting as good as I ever have. If I get nervous the symptoms reappear.”
Standing over a four-foot putt playing for nothing more than pride, my knees start to wobble and my hands shake. How do you stay calm when it’s your career that is on the line playing golf?
The Right Mindset
Golf is a game that’s first played in your head then executed with your body. That is where Darren has the advantage, and I’m not talking about the wires that run into his brain.
“I don’t play scared, I like to stay aggressive.” He reminds himself. “Hey, I’m lucky to be playing golf at all. Why should I worry about if I drop a shot in the water or miss a putt? I hit a ball in the hazard on Tuesday and made double bogey. If I had it to do over, I would take the same chance again.”
Darren calls the Bear Course at Grand Traverse Resort the most difficult layout in the State of Michigan. “You have to play cerebral golf (no pun intended). You have to think about where you’re hitting the shot and if you miss what the consequences will be. So make sure you miss in the right spot. I have played here a few times and I am getting comfortable with the course.”
If the PGA selects the Bear course to host next year’s Michigan Open Championship. Look for Darren to be right there fighting for the Trophy, he already has the biggest victory of his life.