Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Elite [Print without images]

Monday, April 11, 2011
The Closer

By Davy Hite as told to Ed Harp
Bassmaster.com

FLORENCE, Ala. -- I'm tired and happy. That's a good combination. Other than my Classic win in 1999, this is the best one ever. It really means a lot to me for reasons that are both professional and personal.

On the professional side, I've always prided myself on being a closer. Up until last year, I'd led at some point during seven tournaments and won them all. But Guntersville ruined that for me last year. I led in it, but didn't win. In short, I didn't close the deal. My record was no longer 100 percent. That really bothered me.

This was proof -- mostly to myself -- that I was still a closer. I know I can't win them all, but I'd like to think I can win them when I put myself in a position to win. This makes me feel that Guntersville was a fluke, an aberration that really doesn't define me.

The other professional factor is the Classic spot for next year. That's huge, to say the least. The Classic is the championship of our sport. It's the place where we shine and where our sponsors get a lot of bang for the bucks they put into us all year.

I want to fish every Classic as long as I'm active in this sport -- for me and for my sponsors. This makes that a guarantee for next year.

On the personal side, I can say that my youngest son brought it home to me. When I was leading, I saw the look on his face. I was truly his hero.

You could see him beaming with the knowledge that Davy Hite was his dad. He was really proud. There's no way I can repay that in full, but I at least made a down payment with this win. It's the greatest feeling in the world.

I've been asked if this will change the way I fish the rest of the year. The answer is simple -- You bet it will!

This takes a lot of tough decision making off my back and lets me fish the way I like to fish. I'm a home-run hitter. I don't like to fish for weight or for a check or for a place on the final day. I want to fish for the win, and I'm willing to take my lumps if things don't work out.

But, here's the reality. Sometimes you have to compromise. If you're close to making the Classic, you have a lot of pressure on you. Your fans and sponsors want to see you in the biggest event in bass fishing.

And, if the truth be told, you want to be there, too. I'd like to say that doesn't affect me, but we all know the truth. Sometimes you have to compromise.

This win takes that problem away from me. I don't have to compromise. I can fish for the win in the next five Elite Series events knowing that if I don't win, it's OK, that I'll still be on the Red River next February giving my family, my sponsors and myself what they want.

So, yes, it'll make all the difference in the world. I'll go for broke in every event from now on, and I'll bet you I make a good run on a win somewhere along the line. And, if I have a really low finish in that run, so be it.

I've had a good week ... really good week.