Friday, June 13, 2008

A US Open Father's Day

By Nick McCann

I have never been able to really care about golf because I have always been afraid of what that would mean. It has always seemed like a retirement sport or a sport that my Dad would like. Actually, I know my Dad my likes it because he does…more and more with every day that he gets closer to his death. And I am sure of this because he spends more money on Golf gear and instructional tapes every year.

Maybe loving Golf means accepting death. When I was 9 I felt the same way about coffee.

Anyways! Even though The US Open is being played at Torrey Pines this weekend, I still can't find a good reason for caring about the PGA. It is not really something I understand because I can’t see any reason to root for any one golfer. I guess it is the same reason why I can’t get into Nascar: a sport that people are passionate about because they (a) love cars and (b) they become attached to drivers that come from their region of the country.

If Golf is supposed to play to that same sensibility, than apparently everyone in San Diego should be rooting for Phil “Not The Groundhog” Mickelson, a local legend, and the clear-cut second best golfer on the planet. But rooting for him because I share the same place of birth seems unnatural and forced.

I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to play golf, and more importantly, I don’t want to be obsessed with getting better at it. This means I am still clinging to the idea that I can stop my self from turning into my Dad. In my eyes, males who decide to golf professionally accept this reality at a very young age: their dad wants to be the father of a pro golfer and they grant that wish because they want to please.

In the film SLC Punk, Matthew Lillard’s Dad, Christopher McDonald (who also played Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore), says to his punk rock son, “I didn’t sell out son, I bought in!” McDonald's character made this decision later in life, but for most pro golfers, they make this decision before they are five years old. How can I root for somebody that quick to discard any form of youthful rebellion? Besides John Daly, golfers don’t get arrested; they excel at a sport that all the power players in our legal system play on the weekends. This probably means that Golfers can literally get away with murder if they dish out the right golf tips to the right judges (this assumption might be exaggerated, but I'm sure not by much).

Whenever my Dad asks me to play golf with him (he has recently stopped), I always decline and he then gives me a look of disappointment. He watches the last day of every major tournament and when ever I am there to share the experience, I can feel that he wishes that I could have followed the same track that Mickelson did without him ever saying it.

I don’t want to be Phil and I definitely don’t want to be one of these guys:

The only thing interesting about Golf is the storyline of Tiger Woods. I can allow my self to watch the last day of a major only if he is in contention and if I have to go to parents’ house to borrow a tool or something. It always feels the same way it felt watching Bulls on WGN in the early 90s. Tiger Woods is chasing Jack Nicklaus for our generation and he is doing it with an MJ intensity (and a near perfect Swedish bombshell for a wife) in the same way MJ was chasing Wilt, Russell, Oscar Robinson, Jerry West, and Dr. J. etc.

However, I would not be bummed at all if Phil Mickelson won the tournament. If Tiger is Jordan, Phil is Reggie Miller and that is as cool as any pro Golf dynamic can be (would that make Vijay Singh John Starks?). I don’t need Tiger to win this particular US Open, but I do have to watch the final round at my Parents’ house with my Dad.

I’m giving him No Country For Old Men on DVD for Father's Day because I think he will like it; I’m giving him an afternoon of watching Phil and Tiger at the US Open because it will be his day and it’s a nice gift to give someone who has already bought in.


Red said...

So, it doesn't look like Phil is gonna make it to the finals. But Tiger is still amazing.

And the US Open at Torrey Pines is the best thing ever because it allowed me to "work from home" today.

Anonymous said...

Tiger Woods might be the most exciting athlete of our generation. besides jordan. i'd watch him.


tkf said...

I totally watched it.

He rules.

Nick McCann