I remember hating how much my stepdad and other guys his age loved Jack Nicklaus winning the 1986 Masters. I couldn’t believe they wanted some washed-up, has-been like Jack to win instead of the brash, exciting, much younger Greg Norman.
If my stepdad was still around, he would have been laughing at me yesterday as I watched most of Tiger Woods’ final round at the PGA, hanging on to every shot like it was 2002 again.
Before we get to that, I should note that after a long, long time not having any interest in golf I’ve regained at least some of my love for the sport lately. I’ve been watching the Golf Channel a lot. I bought L a kids club and some foam balls to hit in the front yard. Unable to hit with her, I decided to go buy a super cheap set of starter clubs for myself. I checked out a couple golf books at the library. I discovered there’s a driving range close by I may actually go hit some balls at this week. Whether I actually start playing again is another thing. But I at least have some interest in the sport, both as a participant and spectator, again.
Before Tiger started doing his thing this weekend my attention was drawn by KU alum Gary Woodland leading after the first two rounds. I figured he wouldn’t hold on; no one wins majors wire-to-wire. He had a rough opening nine Saturday but righted the ship enough to play with Tiger on Sunday. As cool as it would have been for Woodland to win, as soon as Tiger started dropping birdies I was pulling hard for him.
When I pumped my fist after he dropped back-to-back birdies to close his front nine I realized I had become my stepdad in 1986, rooting for the old, washed-up, has-been guy.
M was hanging out in the kitchen and started asking questions.
“Why is everyone so excited for that guy? Hasn’t he been good forever?”
I explained, in very broad terms, that Tiger hadn’t won a major in a decade and had barely played over the course of several years because of injuries.
“How do you get injured in golf?!?!”
“When is this tournament over? Will you stop watching golf then?”
When I saw Tiger birdie again at 15 to go to –13, I let out a cheer before we had to leave for a neighborhood gathering. Although I set the DVR to record the rest of the day, I figured Tiger would probably come up just short. Not so much because of his age or his recent history, but more because Brooks Koepka just didn’t look like a dude who was going to lose. He looked a lot like a young Tiger, in fact, overwhelming the course and the field.
While at the party, I checked the scores and let out a groan when I saw Tiger had finished two strokes back. I remembered that putt on 11 that stopped right on the edge of the cup and somehow didn’t fall. Or the one at 14 that was inside the hole before spinning out for a bogey. Two strokes right there and maybe it’s a different end result. More likely Koepka finds another stroke somewhere down the stretch. It was his weekend, after all.
Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. In recent years I’ve pretty much just watched the weekend parts of the Masters and then the same for the US and British Opens if we were home. Other golf tournaments I had no interest in watching. Partially because Tiger was gone. Partially because I hadn’t touched a club in ten years. But with L showing an interest in the sport that may pull me back in at least casually.
- We’ll see how long L’s interest lasts. The first day she swung a club she was hitting the practice balls pretty well. We hit twice over the weekend and she was really struggling. I told her that golf is super hard and it takes lots of work, so she shouldn’t get frustrated. With soccer starting soon it may be a struggle to keep her engaged until late October. ↩