Kevin, too, plays golf. Plays it pretty well, too. He played at the University of Southern California, the same place his dad spent his college days. The Walrus joked a little about junior, but obviously there was a lot of truth in between the punch lines. The question ' how much advice had dad given over the years ' advice about golf and Kevins possible attempt at golf as a career?
Theres been a lot probably given I dont know how much has been heard, said poppa with a belly laugh. Pretty much in one ear and out the other. Then I just kind of bagged it for three years. Everything I said kind of set him off a little bit ' which was fine.
Kevin, you see, was going through the stage that kids the world over go through - that stage where parents ' um, dont seem to know too much. In the Stadler household, this was business as usual, and mom and pop have waited patiently for Kevin to come out of this particular stage of maturation.
The last three years, Walrus said, I havent said a whole lot. If he asks me, then Ill chime in. But hes got his own people he works with. I dont know a damn thing about the golf swing and Ill be the first person to admit it.
Kevin is not an uppity kid, not a mouthy kid, not a cocky kid. Around the older set, he seems quite polite. All the while, as dad was talking, Kevin sat still. But Father Stadler wasnt yet finished.
Ive pretty much left both the kids alone their entire life, said Stadler. They pretty much can do what they want to do, go about their own pace about it - I never pushed them with anything.
I think the younger one, Chris, is still deciding what to do. I think my buddy here next to me is at a time in his life where he needs some pushing. Hes facing decisions on what hes going to do ' whether to improve his golf game and work at it. He plays great at times, and not very good at times.
The Walrus was sincere now. Gone was the joking demeanor. He addressed the questioner ' but the answer was directed at Kevin.
Ive told him over the years, I think its one of the toughest things to learn ' to convince yourself that you have the ability, you have the talent, and subconsciously, you know, you think about it
Stadler mixed his thoughts somewhat. He was talking now about what a good player does . When you go out and play good, you shoot 65, 66, 67. When you play poorly, you shoot 71 or 72. Thats the only way in pro golf youre going to make it. Theres a lot of guys who dont hit the ball very good, but they always score well.
Has Kevin learned that ' that some days you hit it well, some days you hit it lousy ' but you always find a way to score?
Kevin was a bit somber now. I thought Id done a pretty good job of it. but theres not as many low scores as there should be on days when I hit it well enough for it to be there. I dont know exactly where it is that that comes from, but Ive got to figure that out, he said.
The Old Man quickly realized he had been a bit tough. Kevin had been a good kid, Craig remembered. Even now, he is a good kid. Poppa quickly cut junior some slack.
I didnt mean you hadnt learned that ' youve gotten a lot better at it than five years ago, dad said hastily. Youve done a creditable job at it, but theres still berries there to fix. Theres a lot of areas in my golf game to fix, and there always will be. If you ever get perfect at it ' keep working!
Across the way, Bernhard Langer was talking about his son, 13-year-old Stefan, who was playing the 18th hole with his pro-am partners. Langer hasnt yet had to deal with the phenomena, of kids who know more than their parents. Stefan will eventually grow up and begin to question everything thats told him, as kids have done throughout history. For now, hes just a youngster who does as hes told and has a great father to teach him.
I would tell him that it is going to be very tough out here. You want to be really good. Its not a great job if youre just average or below-average - its a grind, said Langer.
So I want him to be aware of that. Hell see that as he matures ' hell see that in me, too.
Two different fathers, two different sons ' and the fathers love each with all the emotion that is within them. Its the intense struggle to get their offspring over that great hump that concerns both of them.
The Father/Son, you see, is so much more than just a golf game. Sometimes, its the game of life.
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