There were some parallels between the FedEx St. Jude champ and the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki on Sunday night.
Neither had ever won a title before.
Both reside in Dallas.
Both are in their 13th year in their respective leagues.
Both reached the mountaintop after a long, often frustrating journey.
“I wanted to send a text to Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd and those guys and say I know right now exactly how you feel,” an exhausted Frazar told me via cell phone from his hotel room about an hour after the Mavericks won its first NBA title and some six hours after he won his first PGA TOUR title after defeating Robert Karlsson in a playoff.
“All the years of hard work, and criticism; the years of not knowing where you stand and questioning who you are as a person or a player. And to all of a sudden find yourself on top, I know how [they] feel. I’m not equating winning a TOUR event to winning the NBA championship, but there are parallels.”
And surely Nowitzki must know how Frazar, a native and resident of Dallas as well as a diehard Mavs fan, feels. The super forward finally got his own trophy (or two if you count his Finals MVP award) after 13 years in a league in which he’d reached the NBA Finals just once.
For Frazar, it took 355 starts before he could hoist his hardware.
There was a time when Frazar, much like Nowitzki, looked as though he’d never get that opportunity — whether it was earlier this year when he talked about quitting after this season, or when he dunked his approach shot in the water on the indolent to lose a one-shot lead on Sunday.
But Frazar bounced back, telling himself and his caddie that he was going to get up and down on the 18th to force a playoff, which he did before winning on the third extra hole. And he did so knowing, at least in the back of his mind, that his major medical exemption was running out in a couple of weeks and perhaps his career right along with it.
“As time went on, here was this unattainable beast,” said Frazar, who also jumped more than 100 spots to 40th in the the FedExCup standings with the win. “I realize 13 years … it should not have been that hard. I put in on a pedestal for so long. I idealized it so much where it made it difficult to function.”
That inability to function — sometimes literally, like when Frazar blew out his hip last summer and endured the fourth major surgery of his career — nearly ended his career .
Earlier this season, Frazar talked about hanging up his spikes after this year if things didn’t turn around. But recent encouragement from family and friends — like former TOUR executive vice president Rick George, now the chief operating officer of the Texas Rangers — is what ultimately helped Frazar on Sunday.
I asked Frazar what his overwhelming thought was now that it had all sunk in and he said, “Just a sense of accomplishment. It’s been a long, long time in the making.”
The same could be said for the Mavericks.
Way to go Harrison.