This hasn’t been the busiest golfing season for KP and I.
My great friend and I got off to a great start, with Tater and our discount coupons from the winter Syracuse Golf Show in hand to play three of the nicest courses in the area before mid-June. Since then, though, we’d squeezed in just one more round.
Four rounds by mid-August does not a 30-year friendship fuel.
I was quite pleased to receive the text over the weekend with the news that this was a KP vacation week and inquiring about my availability.
He set our tee time, just the two of us, at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday. Somehow my mind rounded that to the quarter-hour.
He pulled up to my car with the cart upon my arrival and said we had two minutes. I opened the trunk, threw my shoes on my feet and the clubs to the cart, and off we went to the pro shop so I could pay. I noticed construction to that building and the adjacent restaurant.
The course, however, was all-go. The starter told us there were two singles ahead of us, and then it was our turn at the first tee.
I was fashionably on time. I told KP about my clock miscalculation, and we had a chuckle about my harmless senior moment. Then I related how I’d run the twisty State Park road a tad too fast on my final approach, and one of those radar-based digital portable read-outs flashed my MPH as such, complete with whirling cherry-top police cruiser-worthy. I immediately slowed to the posted, proving the theory. More on that later.
Out of the cart, I stretched left and right and took a few swings as the second single advanced down the pretty first fairway.
KP and I talked about last weekend’s PGA Tournament, won in an impressive and exciting fashion by Australian Jason Day in a battle with American Jordan Spieth.
Texan Spieth is the 21-year-old who won the Masters and U.S. Open earlier this season and finished out of the playoff at the British Open by just one shot. His emergence as a star was undeniable before the fourth and final major tournament of this season. Finishing second Sunday merely cemented the fact that he’s turned in stroke-wise the best four-major record in history.
With Tiger Wood’s drought continuing — the former king of the golf world and all things athletic again failed to make the cut in all four majors in this last year before he turns 40 — Spieth’s burst onto the scene is good for golf. He’s humble and says the right things, proud of his younger sister with special needs and their loving relationship. And now the personable Day’s break-out win is great for the sport, too. He’s by all accounts a good family man, an aboriginal Australian in his late 20s with a beautiful wife and young daughter who travel the tour by RV. They appear ready to match up for many years with another twentysomething, more cocky Irishman Rory McIlroy, who already has four major trophies on his shelf.
The era of Tiger Woods, his last of 14 majors won in that chase of all-time leader Jack Nicklaus and his 18 coming way back in 2008, may be finally and officially finished. Can he rebound and sneak in a late major or two? Is it any fun at all hearing the announcers say Tiger must finance second this week in the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., just to climb from 180th to 125 on the money list and qualify for the season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs?
And the thrilling yo-yo ride of Phil Mickelson, with his five majors and many of implosions to finish second, may be done as well. His last major came in 2013. Phil is 45. Jack was 46 when he seemed to come back from nowhere to win that last Masters in 1986.
Time marches on.
Will Dustin Johnson be the next guy to break out of the dreaded category of Best Player to Never Have Won a Major when they reconvene at the Master’s? He’ll be 31 next April in Augusta …
Anyhow, KP and I like Day and Spieth. KP watched Sunday, he said, as did I. We were impressed with how they visualized each shot beforehand.
Could we translate this to better results on the course?
Click on any gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo in a gallery for an enlarged slide show.
Some shots yes, some shots no.
When we hit the ball well, we were very happy. When we hit it not-so-well, I don’t ever want to see them in my mind again.
But can we talk here? Four hours in a golf cart on a 90º F day when the projected thunderstorms a handful of miles east of Syracuse never materialize allow plenty of opportunity. The kids are all good, adult ones with significant others and the school-aged one. … He and Sue’s new house should be ready in a month, and the present one is now for sale which makes this anxious-time. I’m invited to an open house. Um … no thanks, not in the market. … Karen and I really did have a great time in Colorado. No, it did not end up on my relocation list. … They’re heading off this weekend to Rochester to check out Frankie’s new downtown apartment.
How’d all this stuff happen so fast? Oh, yeah, I moved from Maryland to Syracuse in mid-August 1983. It only feels like just last year that then-Drumlins’ pro Joe Tesori’s father, Charlie, took us into the storage room that time forgot to show KP a used set of “Johnny Bulla’s” that became his very first weapons of choice.
It wasn’t too many summers after that when we jumped into KP’s car one August day and drove to Saratoga Springs, where he hit the daily double at the famed horse track and then we decided on the fly to play a round at the State Park course nearby with a piece of his winnings.
We laughed Wednesday, recalling how our cart that similar late afternoon somehow got a flat tire.
In our match this time, KP whupped me but good on the front side.
I came back and took the back nine, but he’d built up a big enough lead to win overall.
All in all, though, through 32 years of friendship and playing golf, our games ebb and flow but can by symbolized by the drives pictured in the fairway above. It’s a pretty shot not only for the late afternoon lighting, but for the positioning of where our tee shots sit, feet from each other. Even Steven. The buzz words prevail.
Here’s the link for the source for the photo of Jason Day.
What’s the last activity you participated in with your best friend? What’s your favorite topic of discussion with your friends? If you’re a golf follower, who’s your favorite pro, and why?