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Flight attendants, please be seated for takeoff." Those were the last words John Morgan remembers hearing. He was aboard American Airlines Flight 769 to Reno, on the tarmac at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport; seated directly in front of him was Mike Mollet, who caddies for Jeff Brehaut on the PGA Tour. It was Sunday, Aug. 15, and both men were heading for the Reno-Tahoe Open, where Morgan was hoping to secure his Tour card for the 2005 season with a strong showing. He was also excited about seeing his parents, who had flown in from his hometown of Portishead,
After the Boeing 747 had been sitting on the tarmac for 15 minutes, the pilot moved the plane into position for takeoff and revved its engines. On cue, Morgan began kicking the back of Mollet's chair. "Stop playing," Mollet said. But the kicking did not stop, and when Mollet finally turned to look behind him, he knew that Morgan wasn't playing--his eyes had rolled back in his head and his body was convulsing. Although he was wearing a seat belt, his 6'2", 200-pound frame shot up, ramming his head into the overhead compartment, and then crashed down across the armrest. As flight attendants scurried to help, Mollet, Rick Goyette, another Tour caddie who happened to be on board, and several other passengers did what little they could to make Morgan comfortable. Minutes later, the pilot pulled the plane out of its takeoff position and cut across two active runways to get back to the gate. An ambulance was on the way for John Morgan.
a month earlier Morgan had been strolling down the 18th fairway of the TPC at Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. He was playing the 72nd hole of the John Deere Classic, and he had just birdied three of his last four holes to get to 15 under, a shot behind leader Mark Hensby. With his hat turned backward like a hip-hop fan and the gallery cheering him on, Morgan wasn't thinking about the birdie he would need to have a shot at a playoff or the automatic berth to the British Open that he would receive with a win. He was thinking about the Eminem song Lose Yourself.
You better lose yourself in the music
The moment, you own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo.
The song had been running through his head all day, and he was singing it to himself as he hit two perfect shots down the fairway and then nailed a curling 30-footer for that birdie. He had stormed his way into a playoff, but now he was out of magic. "I lost the song in my head during the break between the end of regulation and the start of the playoff," said Morgan. Hensby took the title on the second extra hole.
That a rap song was part of a professional golfer's success is a surprise, but it's less of a surprise when the golfer is John Morgan. "He's been a breath of fresh air on the PGA Tour," says fellow pro Tommy Armour III.