Tuesday, July 12
- Read this.
- Never again doubt my influence.
Monday, July 11
Below is a photo I stole from Graeme McDowell’s Twitter account. It was taken at Royal Troon last week when he was there practicing.
Two things jumped out at me, both linked by a single theme:
- His aloneness.
- The clouds.
Yes, I’m aware there are two people in the background, and that on this side of the camera, there are even more people. But the immense, empty stands, along with the clouds, are the story.
There was a period of four or five years when my life revolved around golf. I had a very convenient (and nice) practice range at a nearby golf course, and I went every chance I got. In the early spring, it was not uncommon for me to spend my lunch hour at the range, then return after work and practice until dark.
When we look back, we tend to remember times as happier than they were. Rosy Remembrance, it is labeled. I don’t recall what my life was like during those years, but I can honestly say the time I spent at the range was always good.
There was a time in spring when the course and range became a madhouse. A few weeks earlier, however, when winter and spring were still locked in battle, I practically had the range to myself.
Looking at Graeme in front of the empty stands and seeing those clouds in the background puts me back in that place.
There are two new-to-me words which come to mind: saudade and sehnsucht. They are deeper than nostalgia, but I can’t really define them any further. I was reminded of them as I looked at Graeme’s photo. (Someone posted his or her thoughts about those words online. Those musings are not a bad place to start.)
There is a beautiful solitariness about golf. There is a beautiful camaraderie about golf, with its trash-talking foursomes and 19th holes. This is not a contradiction.
The photo reminds me of those long-ago late-autumn and early-spring days, when the clouds were signaling a change in the weather, and the range was almost empty. Take away the grandstands — and thirty strokes a round — and Graeme is me fifteen years ago, hoping there is enough light left to chip and putt before heading home.
Sunday, July 10
Graeme McDowell is in contention at the Scottish Open. He tweeted something recently that I’ll write about tomorrow. Something that reminded me there’s a purity about golf that not even Tim Finchem and NBC can foul.
Saturday, July 9
Tim Finchem and NBC have pretty much done everything possible to ruin this golf year. And they’ve had great success.
Olympics golf sucks. Everyone knows Olympics golf sucks. And everyone knows everyone knows Olympics golf sucks.
Seven years ago when this ill-conceived idea was hatched, Finchem and NBC envisioned a Tiger Woods circle jerk to end all circle jerks. It’s pretty hilarious if you think about it. Finchem and NBC would have juxtaposed photos of Woods with Jesse Owens and Muhammad Ali and Michael Phelps and Brave Caitlyn Jenner. These days, most mentally juxtapose Woods with the Baby Ruth bar in Caddyshack.
Instead of a meaningless, made-for-TV non-event touted as the greatest tournament in golf history, we have today’s top pros, one-by-one, saying via words and deeds: I don’t give a shit about Olympics golf. Instead of lies, we have honesty. Well, that’s one positive about golf in 2016.
Finchem can’t get the top players to play in the Olympics, and Woods can’t get the top players to play in his tournament. Payback is hell, isn’t it, fellas?