During the four weekends when there are major golf tournaments (Masters, US Open, The Open and PGA Championships), my Beloved keeps our family room television tuned into the events. Since we also have a DVR, he’s usually recording the entire coverage … in the event he misses something or notices a swing he’d like to study a bit closer. This is what it’s like to live with a man who’s carried a lifelong love of the Game.
Before we were married, I’d never even played a round of golf. (My sports were softball and baseball.) In the early days of our marriage, we were too poor to golf regularly, but Sunday afternoons, we’d both be at home relaxing. Sooner or later, we’d gravitate to the cheap entertainment provided by our television where a broadcast of one golf tournament or another was playing. Even though I knew little about the game, I’d sit down to watch it with my Beloved. That’s how I came to understand golf, long before I’d ever played a round.
I think those early years watching golf with my Beloved were excellent exposure for when I finally had opportunity to play the game. Listening to the commentators offer tidbits of expertise trained me to do more than haphazardly pick up a golf club and just start swinging. I’ve heard plenty of people talk about how watching golf on television is boring. In those early days of watching, it could have been that for me, if not that I wanted to spend time with my Beloved … and his love of golf was contagious. I began to love the game too. Sometimes, I’d do a little needlework while we watched! The crewel piece at right is from that era.
People who think watching golf on television is boring were probably thrilled (not) when The Golf Channel launched in 1995. Having a twenty-four hour network devoted to golf might compare for some to my attitude if I discovered there was another twenty-four hour network devoted exclusively to making clay pigeons. (I understand people may despise golf. I really do!)
However, I’m not a brain-dead golf enthusiast. I don’t view The Golf Channel broadcasts featuring how certain courses were built or the intricate discussions of grass varieties. But I do enjoy tournament highlights as well as the level of play that world-class golfers model pretty consistently. I also enjoy some of the golf personalities, people who’ve taken their turn in the broadcast booth or players who’ve stretched themselves beyond their golf images, shedding celebrity to engage with ordinary people. Payne Stewart comes to mind as one who did it well.
There’s no use in denying another fact: I find mild (okay, huge) amusement in watching world-class golfers sometimes make terrible shots … or hit their ball into the water for a third time … or look cross-eyed after sending a putt way past the hole. It’s heartening to know these professionals (experts) are human and they need to practice almost as much as I do!
Whenever the players arrive in the United Kingdom for The Open Championship, I find myself watching closely as the scenery and golf courses are so different than US courses. As the oldest golf tournament, first played in Scotland in 1860, The Open Championship has both a proud and storied tradition. It has been my tendency to call it The British Open to distinguish it from the US Open, but then earlier this week on Twitter, I noted an amusing exchange between player Bubba Watson and another fellow about the name.
I suppose I’m in good company in propagating this error. I’ve always liked Bubba. Now I like him even more. As for the rest of you, I hope to see you on the links!