PINEHURST, N.C. – Kevin Kisner has missed seven cuts this season, but this was by far the most memorable.
Playing in his first career major, he ballooned to a 77 Friday at the U.S. Open and missed the cut by seven shots. He played his last four holes in 5 over par, mostly because all he could think about was going home.
On Monday afternoon, he and his wife, Brittany, welcomed their first child, Kathleen Grace, a little girl they will call Kate. The next night, and having changed only one diaper, he made the 3 1/2-hour drive to Pinehurst. He got in only 12 holes of practice before he was forced off the course because of inclement weather. His first-round tee time came early, 6:56 a.m.
If Kisner made the cut here at Pinehurst, he planned to have his father, Steve, on the bag for the final round, unless he was near the top of the leaderboard. Kevin was one of several TaylorMade staffers who participated in the company’s Father’s Day promotion, putting his dad’s name on the front of his carry bag.
With his chance to make the cut now gone, and with only two holes left in his second round, Kisner decided to call an audible. He signaled for his father outside the ropes, put the caddie bib over his neck and gave the old man the bag for the final two holes. Walking down 18, Steve Kisner blinked back tears.
“It was a special opportunity,” Kevin Kisner said afterward. “Who knows if you’ll ever get to do it again? I thought it was a great time to do it.”
Kisner won’t play next week at the Travelers, which means he now has 11 days off. That’s the longest he has spent at home in Aiken, S.C., since Jan. 1. The man is tired, having woken up by 4:30 each of the past seven mornings. With an already feisty child at home, he will only get more sleep-deprived.
As for the missed cut?
“I’ll forget about this tournament by the time I walk in the front door,” Kisner said, smiling.
And yes, the Kisners will still get to celebrate the holiday, together, as a family, only this time with a new addition, Steve’s fifth grandchild. They’ll attend church in the morning and then have lunch at the house. Carrying the bag for Sunday at the Open? Well, that can wait.
“How about next Father’s Day?” Steve asked his son.
Said Kevin, with a smile, “Yeah, that’s right.”