This is not my favorite week of the year when it comes to golf. I’m not even sure if it comes in second.
The United States Open is the golfing championship of our country. There is no doubting that, and I appreciate those who list the event as the most important championship on the globe.
I’m more of a Masters-type of guy. Yes, I get all soft and mushy inside when you mention Bobby Jones, Magnolia Lane, the tournament doesn’t start until — and the rest.
The Open Championship, British if you must, almost comes in second. I enjoy watching golf played on courses that appear natural. I like drives that bound and bounce for good and bad depending upon which knob or small crest they might strike. I like watching players hitting their approach shots well short of a green as the ball rolls and rolls towards the pin.
It reminds me of playing golf in the late 1970s and 80s on courses where the conditions were not so pristine. Where a well-placed wedge from 100 yards might fly 70 before striking hard ground. Where the game was often played on the ground as much as it was in the air.
You might notice there is a touch of conflict involved in the two. I’ve never said I’m perfect. I have my inconsistencies just like all of you.
But, when push comes to shove, I do enjoy watching golf where par is still a good score. That part of this week is simply something that I enjoy very, very much. It makes the US Open a tournament quite satisfying on the eyes and in the soul.
I understand modern equipment makes the game easier. That’s the reason I still occasionally can post scores under 80 at my age. Talent and ability are on the short end of the stick here, it’s the arrow that really counts.
Still, golf maturity came with the reading of Jones who said that he became a great player when he realized that “Old Man Par” was really the obstacle.
Jones discovered that playing the course was the real challenge. I believe he meant playing against yourself and your shortcomings was the real reward.
Modern pros do not have it too easy. I can try, but in reality, I find it very difficult to understand what it means to play golf for your living. It can look great early Sunday evening. I think it often looks different on Friday nights.
Professionals need not be 10, 15, even 20 under par in 72 holes to entertain galleries. At least I prefer to think not.
Amateurs no longer count. The day of an amateur defeating professionals began vanishing in 1930, and died its final death with Billy Joe Patton and Ken Venturi in the 1950s at the Masters.
But just as in 1930 when an amateur was the best that ever was, why should the best there is today not play under conditions where the number on the card is a good number to hit?
The US Open has a tendency to provide those type of numbers. The Open also tends to not only recognize ability, but patience and persistence as well.
Old man par was pretty good in 1930. It should be today.
That’s what makes my third best week pretty special.