Fatherly Things at Fathers Day

By George WhiteJune 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
Sunday of the U.S. Open has traditionally fallen on the Sunday that is Fathers Day. Most of the competitors are fathers. All have a father. Therefore, Sunday is an emotional day - emotional for a couple of reasons.
For some, the emotions are not happy ones. I think of Briny Baird and his father Butch ' separated for three or four years by an argument over something seemingly trivial that it no longer comes immediately to mind. I think of young Sean OHair and his separation from a father who seemed entirely unreasonable, both in his demands of young Sean and his dictatorial attitude towards the young man.
Tiger Woods and Earl Woods
Tiger Woods shares a light moment with his father Earl.
But for every situation such as this, there are untold thousands who have the type of relationship Tiger Woods and his father have. Or Padraig Harrington and his dad. Theirs is a loving relationship, made even more dear because their fathers are living though serious health problems.
Tigers father suffers from several maladies, but the most critical one is his problem heart. Father Earl saw Tiger though several professional victories, but recently he has been too ill to travel.
It's one of those things where he hasn't been to any of my U.S. Open victories, said Tiger. He's just been at home and watched them.
It's always special to compete on Father's Day and then to have an opportunity to be lucky enough to win one of these and to be able to share it with him. I've gone home with the trophy and we shed a tear together, and it's a very special time.
Pop exposed Tiger to the game as an infant still in the crib. Pop would practice swings in the garage, and Tiger picked up a plastic club and began emulating him.
My dad was the reason why I was introduced to the game of golf, said Tiger, and to share Father's Day with him and I'd call up in the morning and say, Hey, pop, I'm going out there.
He says, Just go out there and take care of business like you always do. What's your game plan? And I tell him what I'm going to do on every hole and we run through it together, just like we always do. That's special, man.
Harringtons father is back home in Ireland battling throat cancer. Harrington answers questions about his father politely but shortly. My dad is comfortable, and I have so many special memories that there would be too many to go through, he said when the conversation drifted to family matters Wednesday.
However, John Hopkins of the London Times got Padraig to open up a little on Tuesday. Padraig drifted into a make-believe scenario for a few moments, a scenario in which he saw himself winning the Open.
Obviously it would mean a lot to me to win on Fathers Day and he would be very happy if I won, said Harrington.
But I am not under pressure at all because of him. I am not playing for him. He never tried to live his life through me. He would be happy if I won but outside of golf, I spend a lot of time thinking.
Does Harrington compulsively call home, perhaps once a day?
You have a different idea of what compulsive is, Padraig replied. Its two or three times a day.
At the Players Championship this year, Harrington spoke about his father when the cancer was first discovered.
I never had a golf lesson until I was 15 years of age, but what I had when I was growing up was my dad was a very competitive, very intelligent player, said Padraig. And he just taught me the idea of getting the ball in the hole, the art of scoring. He would never have once given me this is how you swing the golf club, but he would have encouraged me to score well. And at the end of the day, that's really where my talents lie.
Harrington is in the U.S. while his mind remains in Dublin. He spoke about the difficulties of being a continent away as he attempted to compete at the Players.
I'm trying to not use it as a detrimental factor, or motivational factor. I'm trying to be neutral around the course and do my job. I've traveled a long way to do it. As I said before, I'd rather not be here. But the fact that I'm here means that I'm going to go out there and try to do my job as professionally as I can.
Fathers Day has a profoundly different meaning to just about everyone. But sometimes, a father is a little extra precious when you begin to see their mortality. It certainly is to the men at Pinehurst.
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    Mickelson misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

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    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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    Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

    Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

    The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

    They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

    It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

    “I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

    The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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    LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

    The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

    The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

    The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

    The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

    The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

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    Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

    By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

    An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

    It was too much “socializing.”

    “I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

    Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

    “Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

    Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

    His plan for doing that?

    “Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”