The Endless Golf Season
You've stopped writing. Practically. Your letters are a trickle of what they were back in the summer when Ryan Moore drove you crazy with his painter's hat and Stevie kept taking off that bib and you had all those suggestions for the FedEx scoring. You adored Tiger. You resented him. You cheered for Yang and loved the fact that a guy called Duck could bounce it off a tree and win a green jacket. You mourned for Kenny. You were saddened for Phil and Amy. You railed against slow play, spitting, Johnny Miller—when you weren't lauding him—stubble, swearing and Kelly Tilghman. You were there for Watson. You hurrahed for the red, white and bleu in the Presidents Cup. And then you stopped. Poof. It hit me yesterday as I rummaged through 4,012 emails from Kenyan ministers telling me I'd won the lottery and found nothing but one note from you about split infinitives.
I think I know what you're saying by not saying it: "Golf's over, bud. Give me a break. Take a rest. Go for a hike. Are you ready for some football?"
There must be a season, you're saying. It's as simple as that. To everything, even that thing that we love more than our own well being, even golf. How else do you keep track of it, measure it, remember it, compare it, anticipate it, endure it? How else do you know when to get ready? How else to make your predictions, organize your pools, pick your major winners, re-grip your clubs. Even golf must have a start and a stop.
Now, it's great that there is a World Golf Championship in China. Great that there is an Asian Amateur that will send a player to the Masters. They will expand the game and make it better (see World Series, Hideki Matsui). They will make a season over there. But don't expect us to live for every shot. It's over, over here; that's what you're saying. David Owen wrote once that for the first golf game of the season to be as thrilling as it can be, there must be a last game of the season. After that, amid the football games and family get-togethers, there's time for taking stock, naming Newsmakers, stocking the Hall of Fame, drawing it all to a close, dreaming of Augusta.
We have endured a period of great excess in our game. Too many fancy courses, too many overwrought clubhouses, obscene club initiation fees, extravagant purses, exotic equipment prices, and, well, a season that never ends. Enough. That's what you're saying.