My dad taught me to play golf when I was six. He was my first teacher, and, probably like a great many folks on here, we found that golf was the constant in our lives -- no matter the situation, even when I was a bratty teenager, we could always play or talk about golf.
I remember watching the '96 Masters (when I was most definitely a bratty 16 year-old) with him and being shocked at Greg Norman's epic collapse. We spent many Sunday evenings watching the final holes of the weekly tournament. And our best weekend together, two months before I got married and four months before he unexpectedly passed away, was at the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla.
After he died in 2008, my mother sent me a chest full of his stuff -- things she thought might have meaning to me. I had sort of looked at it, but I had never dug through it. I did today.
Inside I found scorecards from just regular old rounds we had played together, nothing special. I found scorecards he had saved from the trip we took to Ireland, and scorecards from our trip along the Robert Trent Jones Trail. I also found pictures, and little knicknacks, and a flag pin from the course where I grew up and where we spent uncountable hours on the course.
I miss my dad every day, but I guess I miss him a little bit more today. But this is also why I love the game: even though my dad is up in Heaven now, I never feel closer than when I'm walking the back nine in the deepening dusk. I can hear his voice, remember our putting contests from when I was a child, and see his big smile when he sank a long putt.
Fathers and Sons.
Thanks for listening.