Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on our old site a year ago. We received such a positive reaction that we decided to run it again in this space.
And so, it is upon us.
In our opinion, the United States Open Golf Tournament is the most difficult golf tournament to win in the world. There is a special place in our heart for this tournament. Truth be told, we love The Masters. That is our most favorite tournament in our most favorite place in the world. However, the U.S. Open means so much to us in a different way.
First of all, we feel like The Masters is our tournament, so to speak. We have had the great fortune to witness the collection of the greatest players in the world on one golf course twice in our life. Also, if some homerism is to be permitted, The Masters is held in our home state, and The Masters is the only major golf championship to be contested on the same course year in and year out. There is a special connection we feel with that tournament. If you know anything about our background, then you will easily understand why. The Masters was founded by a local Atlanta boy made good; a man that grew up on the demanding layout of East Lake, graduated from both Georgia Tech (our favorite) and Emory, achieved everything that could be achieved as a gentleman golfer (that means amateur for those of you that are unfamiliar with the terminology from a time before success was measured in endorsements), and made a timely retirement from the competitive game, only to build his dream course in Augusta, Georgia, and start his own tournament that would become the ultimate goal of not only every professional golfer, but every young boy that ever lifted a club in the southeastern United States. If one grew up playing this beautiful, frustrating game in the sweltering heat of this region, then you always dreamed of playing your way into the U.S. Amateur, or the U.S. Public Links Championship, just so you would have a chance at maybe making a few putts and qualifying for The Masters.
The one thing that we didn’t realize until very recently was the fact that the same dream we all shared about qualifying for The Masters, were you to achieve it, would also qualify you for the United States Open, which, as we said, is the most difficult tournament in the world to win, and a tournament whose final round is now traditionally contested on Father’s Day.
After all, any of us who began our odyssey into the great abyss of swing thoughts and three foot putts were likely first introduced to this game by our fathers. We each owe our paters for this; without them, we would never have learned the immutable truths of honesty and integrity, much less how to conduct ourselves in a gentlemanly manner, and most of all, how this beautiful contest of man versus himself teaches each of us more about ourselves.
With all of that being said, the 2008 U.S. Open is upon us. Tiger Woods seeks to become only the sixth man in the history of this championship to win at least three times. Much has been made of his assault on Jack Nicklaus’ record of eighteen major championships. Much more should be made of his quest to join the likes of Willie Anderson, Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Hale Irwin. These five titans of the game, underrated as some of them may be, hold a very special place in golf history.
So, as our national golf championship begins, we encourage you to enjoy every moment, drink in the sights and sounds, and when Sunday arrives, find your way into a place where you may spend a few hours watching this great spectacle with your father in mind, if not in presence. This is truly our tournament, and it is only fitting that it will be contested on a public course, much like the ones on which we all learned to play.
The people’s favorite is, of course, Tiger Woods, who will no doubt carry with him thoughts of his father on his final round. Phil Mickelson is considered to be another strong contender, and he will also carry strong thoughts of not only the gravity of this great championship, but also what this game means to the sense of family, as he is a renowned family man, and as he witnessed on the eighteenth green at Pinehurst, when another great family man, Payne Stewart, bested him for the U.S Open Championship.
Our plea to all of you is this: find some time this weekend to spend with your father, and should that not be possible, make a telephone call to him, and if that is not possible, at the very least, tune in to the final round on Father’s Day, and spend a few moments in thought, prayer, and appreciation of the man who, whether you realize it or not, helped mold you into the man you are today.
That my friends, is why this golf tournament is special.