July 2, 2009

Holiday Traditions

Players at the AT&T National planned to spend this weekend on the golf course, but they still fondly recall their own boyhood 4th of July traditions

Players like Fred Couples and Fred Funk have spent recent 4th of Julys watching fireworks at the White House.

Players like Fred Couples and Fred Funk have spent recent 4th of Julys watching fireworks at the White House.

BETHESDA, Md. -- The best place to see holiday fireworks -- besides the kind on display at Congressional Country Club -- has got to be Saturday night the 4th somewhere along the National Mall that stretches from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. That's if you can squeeze yourself in among the hundreds of thousands expected to turn out for the show.

It's the traditional 4th of July fare . . . music, fireworks, thunderous noise, rainbows of colors filling the sky. But individual traditions can vary on our nation's birthday celebration.

In the spirit of the 4th of July, here are some of the favorite holiday memories shared by players at the AT&T National.

Boo Weekley: "Back when I was young, all the way up to my senior year in high school, we always went to my grandparents' house on the Blackwater River (Florida) and we always had the boat in the water and we always swam in the river, shot fireworks, ate fish and had a lot of homemade ice cream. We caught mullet. We ate a lot of mullet. We usually caught 'em that morning and that afternoon, when everybody got there, there'd be 25 or 30 of us down there. The ice cream flavor didn't matter. Homemade vanilla and chocolate and peach."

Fred Couples: "Last year, we were on the roof of the White House watching the fireworks. President Bush invited us over there and then we went up on the roof with his daughters. I'm not that young, but she said 'Come on, go with us,' so Davis (Love) and I went up on the top of the roof. It was pretty phenomenal. And as a kid in Seattle, probably getting my first firecrackers and blowing everything up with them. Black Cats. Once I got Black Cats, I used them everywhere. Everywhere. My sister's clothing and her dolls, I blew up lots of stuff. They shouldn't allow those things."

Steve Lowery: "As a 10-year-old kid in Birmingham (Alabama), we used to go up to a place called Red Mountain and watch fireworks. The radio station would play and they'd shoot off fireworks, we put down a blanket or had lawn chairs and loved every minute of it. My mother and dad and my older sister, Sharon. Good memories."

Fred Funk: "Two in a row at the White House with the Bushes. That was fantastic, watching the fireworks from the White House is pretty cool. We were up on the balcony overlooking it all. With Barbara and George there, too, it was great. Probably Obama won't give me an invite."

Charles Howell III: "Going to the lake with my dad Charles and my mom Debra and my brother Ben at Clarks Hill Lake outside of Augusta (Georgia). We had a little lake house. Shooting fireworks and fishing and hanging out. We did it up until I was about 14 and then junior golf took over."

Nick Watney: "We didn't have any big tradition, but I loved Community Park in Davis (California). I liked all fireworks, but the bigger, the louder, the better. I still remember that, even though I was only about eight or 10."

Jim Furyk: "I don't have one. If I did, for me, a good 4th of July really is seeing a big smile on my kids' faces as they watch the fireworks. I'm watching them probably more than I'm watching the fireworks."

Sean O'Hair: "There are a lot of them, just watching fireworks with family. I enjoy just being home on 4th of July. If it wasn't this golf tournament I'd probably be taking this week off. I just like being with my family, especially with my kids and watching the fireworks."

Paul Casey: "The usual question is 'Do you have a 4th of July in England?' Of course we do. It's right after the 3rd of July. I've been asked before if we celebrate it in England as well -- and I have sort of puzzled look. I haven't been over here for the 4th of July in a long time, but you know where the Americans live in the UK because all the fireworks are going off. Which is great. Although this country's history is fairly short, it's pretty good history and I think it's important that you celebrate things like your independence . . . although it was from the Brits. It doesn't matter. Any excuse for a good party."

Happy 4th of July.