Fathers Golf and Generations
That third Sunday in June, now always the day of the final regulation round of the U.S. Open, opens for many a stretch of warm afternoons and warmer memories. They often involve golf. (Moms, dont worry. If theres any justice, all year is Mothers Season.)
As our numerous contacts with Golf Channel viewers for our first-ever Fathers Day promotion showed, thousands of golfers of all ages recall learning and playing the game with their fathers ' men who likely enjoyed the same gift from their own dads. That special triangular bond between a father, his children and the game has been much discussed in barrooms, by firesides, on airplanes, and naturally, in books. James Dodsons Final Rounds, about the authors trip around Scotland with his terminally ill father, was a notable one.
But just as fatherhood is eternal, so does this subject seem inexhaustible. The latest invigorating read on fathers and golf is Golf Dads, by Curt Sampson, author of The Lost Masters, Royal and Ancient, and a number of other golf books.
Sampson, a former touring pro, recently lost his own golf dad, Bob. After examining his relationship with his father, he set out on the trail of other father-son golf stories. Some are famous (Lee Trevino, Peter Jacobsen), while others are not (one mans father, an expert in butterflies, took his family to Mexico every summer, where the son learned the game on a course tucked way back in the jungle).
Why golf and fathers? Because dads so often introduce their children to this sport that is as much a culture as a game, Sampson said recently from his home in Ennis, Texas. Because almost every big golf pro Ive ever met was anxious to talk about his father. And because the game makes visible the dramas of childhood and parenthood.
Those dramas, whose significance might not be realized as theyre being played out, are the scripts many children rerun later in life, contemplating the changes fathers and children must go through.
Ive long been fascinated by the giant Xs our lives make, such as the moment when a fathers declining physical strength is momentarily equaled by his son, then, seemingly a moment later, surpassed. Sampson said. But strength is only the most obvious and easily tracked intersection. Skill, wit, success, experience, and wisdom advance and decay in the son and the father at different rates, and sometimes the metaphor of lines on a graph isnt adequate to explain whats going on.
Weighty stuff. But Golf Dads is not a heavy read. Golf ' and golf courses ' appear again and again as opportunities for parental gift-giving.
Fathers care about passing something of themselves to their kids ' attitude, philosophy, religion, a game. Sampson said. Golf is the best stage ever for the attitude part, in my opinion. Plus you get that shared challenge deal from your five mile stroll together.
And the more innocuous parts of those strolls, the ones that now or later will bring involuntary smiles to the faces of the children involved, figure large in the tales Sampson relates. Theres poignancy, yes, but never syrup. Returning long after his late father has netted his last butterfly, Gilbert the lepidopterists son hears the old Mexican man who carried his bag intone his name ' Heel-bare ' and the sound alone brings back memories of the father and all those summers, decades ago. Peter Jacobsen recalls rounds with his father and brothers and sisters, some light-hearted times that belied Erling Jacobsens stoic exterior (a war hero, he never discussed the war; not an overly demonstrative man, his children nonetheless were sure of his love).
Those who have golf, or a dad, or both ' or perhaps will soon become a dad ' will enjoy this book.
Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere
Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.
Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.
It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.
"Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."
Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.
But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.
As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.
The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.
Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal
Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.
Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.
Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.
"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."
Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:
Disappointing. Clearly misunderstood my explanation. pic.twitter.com/YcKHMPf2v7— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 15, 2018
Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.
Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker
A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.
The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.
There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.
But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.
As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.
This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.
Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie
There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.
Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.
Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.
Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.
The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.
Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.