Standly's temper often flared when he was playing for Abilene Cooper. "There were times when he embarrassed me," says Tommy Estes. But Standly also clearly possessed an enormous gift. As a senior he barely lost the individual state title to Maggert. "Mike hit the ball as good as any teenager I've ever seen," the former coach says. "He might storm off, but he'd be back the next day."
Standly's college career at Houston was marked by similarly stormy relationships. He played on the 1985 national championship team that included Steve Elkington and Billy Ray Brown, but he didn't get along with the coaches. Standly had trouble absorbing and obeying instructions, and people just assumed he was ignoring them, as Epps did after Standly had left Houston.
Working with Standly was so frustrating that Epps often thought of quitting. On the practice tee Standly's gaze would wander. On the course he would stride up to the ball and hit a shot seemingly without thought. "If you aren't going to try any harder than that, I'll just leave," Epps said. Epps thought Standly had the ability to be in the top 10 in the world but did not have the commitment. "And I just couldn't understand all that anger," Epps says. Then Nicole told Epps about the ADD. "It was a relief to finally understand," says Epps, who came to learn that Standly actually was making a considerable effort to play golf. Standly's anger now seems to Epps "almost like despair."
There are few aspects of Standly's life that ADD has not touched. For instance, Suzanne has displayed some signs of the disorder. Partly in compensation for the time she has spent dwelling on Mike's problems, Nicole has begun to pursue a singing career. Country singer Vince Gill is a family friend and has introduced her to the Nashville music scene. She has recorded demos of 14 songs, and in between tournaments she flies to Nashville to pitch to record producers. "It gives her something to think about besides me," Standly says.
While Pirozzolo serves as a long-term confidant, sports psychologist Bob Rotella provides Standly with practical golf advice. He has taught Standly to break the course into small increments: get through four holes, then start another four. But there is no quick fix or pat answer. Says Pirozzolo, "I wish it were a nice neat package for him. It's not." Standly views his career with mounting dissatisfaction. His lone victory "is probably not enough," he says.
Others prefer to focus on the positive. "How many guys have gone through the gypsy life to make it on Tour, have a successful family and have won a tournament?" Epps says. "He's done a lot."