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OSU golfer Martin a true team player

by Jenni Carlson Published: June 10, 2006
Every now and again in this self-centered world of sports comes a story that renews our faith and restores our hope.

Almost makes us fall out of our chairs, too.

This is the story of golfer Pablo Martin.

His sport isn't exactly the place you'd expect a lesson in teamwork. Most individual sports breed an I'll-get-mine mentality out of necessity. Your successes and your failures, after all, depend entirely on you. No sport fosters that me-first attitude better -- or worse -- than golf.

All of which makes what Martin did even more remarkable.

Martin was the No. 1 player at Oklahoma State this spring. He was No. 1 in the country much of the season, too. His scoring average ranked as the lowest in the land, and his string of top-10 finishes was as long as the tournament schedule.

His resume made him a strong candidate for every conceivable national award, starting with the Ben Hogan Award. The Hogan is the Heisman of college golf.

And then some.

The award honors what a player has done not only during the college season but also in individual amateur events. The list of 10 semifinalists is narrowed to seven, then cut to three who are invited to award ceremony. The Hogan is presented at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth the weekend before the PGA Tour's stop there.

A few weeks before that, a member of the award's selection committee called OSU coach Mike McGraw.

"Pablo, he's going to be one of the seven," the committee member told him

"More than likely, he's going to be one of the three."

Then he reminded McGraw that the finalists would be expected in Fort Worth for several activities on the day of the announcement, then for a banquet that evening.

"What day is that?" McGraw asked.

"Saturday, the 13th." McGraw froze.

"Oh, we're going to be at The Maxwell."

Formally known as the Perry Maxwell Invitational, the tournament is held in Ardmore during the break between the Big 12 tournament and NCAA regionals. It gives the teams one final tune-up before the post-season.

McGraw wondered if Martin could compete during the day, then make the hour-and-a-half drive to the banquet in the evening.

"The committee says in order to be considered," he was told, "they have to be there for all the events."

McGraw told the committee member that he'd talk with Martin.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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