Golf

Fathers communicate lessons

Tom Watson reacts to missing a long birdie putt on the 18th green, during Watson's final Masters appearance, at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2016, in Augusta, Ga.
Tom Watson reacts to missing a long birdie putt on the 18th green, during Watson's final Masters appearance, at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2016, in Augusta, Ga. TNS

Nine-time major championship winner Tom Watson talked about his 1982 US Open victory at Pebble Beach on PGA Tour Radio this week.

Watson chuckled as he mentioned his conversation with his dad on Father’s Day as he clutched the US Open Trophy.

Everyone remembers the chip-in on the iconic 17th hole that gave Watson a one-shot lead over Jack Nicklaus that Sunday, but lost in that celebration is Watson’s masterful strategy on the final hole.

His 3-wood off the tee and layup to a perfect position proved lethal for Nicklaus as Watson birdied the 18th to win by two, handing The Golden Bear his 18th out of 19 runner-up finishes in majors.

However, his dad according to Watson’s recollection bashed him for hitting that last putt so hard. Typical for fathers who always are teaching.

Dads are kiosks for children who need guidance not only on the golf links but also on life’s course. I still remember my student’s simile back in my days at St John, “My dad’s like a broken ATM machine.” I’m sure that father spit out money when he felt it was necessary, but sometimes children might not understand pop’s direction.

Same holds true in golf, as fathers try to hand out an allowance of course management, swing technique and mental inspiration, but their weekly stipend of advice in life spends better than any golf shop gift certificate. My father was a broken record when he repeated Polonius’ advice to “never a lender or borrower be.”

Having lived through the Great Depression, my dad knew that a penny saved was a penny earned.

Oh how I wish I knew how smart my dad was going to be. Ohh La La! The lyrics of Ronnie Wood and Ron Lane lament about our failure to listen to our granddads about love and women’s ways, but the same can be said about the game. Golfers can know what they will understand later if they just listen to their dads when they’re young.

Dustin Johnson may or may not defend his title this week, but nobody understands better than he how important a father figure is.

“It’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” said Johnson. Having The Great One as a soon-to-be father-in-law can’t hurt his chances to win more majors either.

Fatherhood.gov suggests that fathers “Take time to be a dad.” That, along with a child’s desire to listen, will result in birdies on the course and in life.

  Comments