The 1995 U.S. Open champion was so determined to be at his son's high school graduation Thursday night that he rushed off the course after his first round at the U.S. Open and hopped on a private plane for California so he could be there.
Then Pavin was scheduled to take a late flight back across the country to make his second-round tee time Friday afternoon.
'It was either this or not play in the U.S. Open,' Pavin said Thursday afternoon as he hurried to a waiting car, just minutes after his round, 'and I was hoping to do this.'
When the U.S. Open was last at Pinehurst, in 1999, it was Mickelson who put family ahead of golf -- carrying a pager with him in case his wife, Amy, eight-plus months pregnant at the time, went into labor.
The baby waited. Still, it was the story of the Open, and shortly after Payne Stewart rolled in his famous 15-foot putt to defeat Mickelson, Stewart grabbed his opponent and told him what a thrill it would be to become a father.
Pavin has known that joy for a long time. He has two sons, and the eldest, Ryan, was set to graduate Thursday evening.
The timing worked out well for Pavin, who got the third tee time of the day -- at 7:22 a.m. -- and doesn't tee off until 12:37 p.m. Friday.
'You'd have to ask the USGA about that,' he said when asked if he received special consideration. 'Let's just say I was hoping for an early tee time and I got one.'
Marty Parkes of the USGA said he was told by Tom Meeks, senior director of rules and competition, that Pavin's convenient starting times were purely coincidental.
He shot 3-over-par 73 in the first round, which certainly keeps him in line to make the cut and turn a long few days into an even longer weekend. In all, he'll fly about 5,000 miles and walk about 12 more over the two-day span. The highlight, though, will be seeing Ryan graduate.
'I've never done anything like it,' Pavin said. 'It's more than worth it.'
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