The Masters: A Father’s Day Show

The logo for the Masters Tournament made of fl...


My son came home from college late Friday night after driving through Atlanta during rush hour, on Good Friday. I begged him not to make the five hour drive for only one day.

“You’ll be home in a month! It’s too long a drive for only one day!” I said.

My husband, the practical one, the one who weighs the pros and cons of every decision, the one who decides with his head, not his heart, said, “If he wants to come home, let him come home.”

It was ridiculous. The price of gas is ridiculous.Atlantatraffic is ridiculous. But he arrived safe and sound at 11:00 pm, and gave us a quick hug before we immediately went to bed. He slept until noon on Saturday.

I glowered at my husband as I made lunch on Saturday. “This is ridiculous,” I said. “We’ve seen him for ten minutes and he has to leave tomorrow!”

When my son finally sauntered downstairs in time for lunch, the two of them talked about the Masters over turkey sandwiches. About what a shame it was Tiger seemed to be falling apart. How good Phil looks. How well Freddy is doing.  How impressed they were with Rory after Friday’s round.

My husband updated him on what had happened on Thursday and Friday, about who had birdied and who had choked.

My son said he heard the azaleas all died, and my husband to him that they weren’t dead, but just bloomed early this year.

“The practice rounds are the best. The players are relaxed and everything’s low key. I saw Seve Ballesteros about 25 years ago on the 16th tee box. Somebody in the crowd yelled for him to ‘hit one on the pond and skip it onto the green’. He hit one about a foot shy of the bank and it sank. He hit the next one within a foot of the first one, but it still sank. The third one he hit skipped right up onto the green and the crowd went wild. I mean wild,” my husband said. “You should go if you ever get the chance.”

The phone rang and my husband talked to his father about Freddy and Tiger and Phil. My son piped up about Rory.

They were in their seats by 3:00

My son asked why Phil putted with one foot far in front of the other and my husband explained that he didn’t want to put his cleat marks in the other guy’s line. “It’s a courtesy,” he told him.

My son listened to his father’s every word.

They talked about Rae’s Creek, the stream that runs through the whole course. And the Eisenhower Tree, the pine that the President hit so many times he proposed it be cut down.

They are ready for the final round, Sunday’s back nine. Anticipating Amen Corner.

I walk in and out of the house. They are riveted to the TV. They both cry out simultaneously as a club cracks the ball sharply. I stop and watch for a minute. The British voices on the television are muted, apprehensively analyzing the little pitted, white ball soaring over the manicured greens. The crowd has their own commentary. Not quite as muted.

Be right! Phil cries out.

My son asks what ‘Be right’ means. And my husband explains that the golfer ‘pured’ it, and wants his club to be the right one.

I stay for the commercial. There is an enormous old radio and I hear the familiar, hushed voices. There are shots of the azaleas, the years they didn’t ‘die’, and wide angled shots of the lush greens, and the still spectators. A golf analyst says people inAugustapause in April and gather across generations. Across eras, even.

“Who is watching with you?” the announcer asks. “Maybe a son. Maybe a father.” He mentions the person you’d give anything to be watching with, one more time.

The ball lands softly on the green, inches from the hole. And the two of them, my little boy and his father, whoop exuberantly in perfect unison.

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