Today I’m off to the US Senior Open at Sahalee. While going out to Sahalee – which will be an immaculate golf course in the Seattle area at its very best – I’ll be there to record what it is like to see a true senior golf major through the eyes of some terrific golf writers. The course will be full of some of the greatest names in golf. Local boy, easy swinging, Freddie Couples, the winner of the 2009 Open Championship through three rounds Tom Watson, the golfer with the best name Fuzzy Zoeller. But also a bunch of golf professionals and open qualifiers who I’ve never heard of who are living the professional golf tour dream of every golfer in their 40s. As an example of chasing the tour dream I give you Chris Smith’s protégé Dan McLaughlin who is working on making the Tour.
The last golf major I attended was the 1992 PGA Championship in St. Louis at the Bellerive Country Club. Just watching PGA Tour golf professionals hitting long straight drive after long straight drive at the driving range was so incredible back then. And the atmosphere of feeling like ‘I was there’ will be all around. That feeling is so special at a major golf tournament.
You can love MLB Baseball (the Cincinnati Reds rock!) , or you can love NFL Football (the Cincinnati Bengals unfortunately – can you believe we got Terrell Owens? Two old, slow guys at wide receiver. T.O. and Chad Ocho-Quatro. One less to mourn the loss of his quick first step and speed. Yikes.), but it doesn’t compare with a golf tournament. Why? Because you are still playing the game and working through the same driving, irons, chipping, sand and putting challenges as everyone around you. And you too can play Sahalee. Might take some effort for you to get on but if you really want it bad enough, I believe in you. It’s a huge love fest of the game. It takes place at one the most beautiful places you can imagine in its finest condition. It’s a major mental trigger and forms a lasting impression. I can’t tell you what I had for dinner last night but I can still remember what the driving range and specific hole and putting greens looked and felt like on that day many years ago.
I also remember how incredibly psyched I was to go out and play golf again after watching.
It was during a time when I was completely obsessed with golf. Taking lessons, practicing putting and chipping, going to the driving range and playing a lot. It was during that time that I realized that professional golfers are simply wired differently. I have such an active mind and when I hit a great shot for me my heart races. But when I played a round with my pro he was cordial, gracious but pure ice. Very methodical. His golf routine was completely down pat. There was no rush between his golf shots. Every putt was lined up. Every practice stroke done in the same way. Going to the US Open was like watching an entire army of golfers who were built this way. I’m hoping to channel that into my game now that I’m a bit more mature.
Jim Moore most graciously offered to show me the ropes of how to cover a golf major like the true pro that he is. The part I look forward to most is being the press room as golfers come in to talk about their rounds. Who is going to be as sharp as Phil Mickelson? What’s it like to be in the room versus watching on TV. Who asks the dumb questions? Won’t be me! Who really knows there stuff. Who do the writers like? It’s going to be great fun.
By the way, this is a terrific article by Paul Ramsdell about Freddie Couples’ return to Seattle for the US Senior Open.