When I call my dad to ask him to go play a round of golf with me, most of time, he is busy with a variety of household projects that suck up the weekends like a vacuum. He has to mow the lawn, build the deck, put in a new shower, etc.
He has responsibilities that he can't put off...unlike my batch of tests which seems to pile up, begging to be graded.
On some occasions though, he says yes. The times that he has has said yes have accounted for some of my most fun and memorable rounds of golf in my life.
How can I forget my dad driving over my golf ball with a golf cart for about the 10th time? Or how about the time I was playing so badly, I decided to play an entire par 5 with a 6-iron. When I got to the green, I bet my father that I would make the 10 foot putt with the 6-iron. "I'll take that bet," he said. Drano! Five bucks richer.
I think this is the reason why I thoroughly enjoy events like the Father-Son Golf Challenge. Sure you aren't going to see Fuzzy Zoeller driving over his daughter's golf ball during the round. But you'll definitely see Bernhard Langer laughing it up with his son during the walk up to the green.
And while I am sure there are tons of people out there who either A) Stop paying attention when Tiger isn't playing or B) Stop paying attention after the Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup, they are missing some of the "best" golf of the season. Some of the most fun of the golf season.
Can you imagine though when Phil Mickelson has one of his children out there playing with him? Or how about Tiger and one of his children? Are you gonna watch then?
Certainly, I know that as a golf tournament, there is money involved and prizes to be won. There are nerve-racking putts and expletives muttered under one's breath. There are crowds and people watching your every move (like Paul Azinger apparently striking out on a tee shot).
But there are also smiles, high fives, pats on the back and being able to tell your dad, "don't worry, I got this." Probably, just as Nick Faldo's son did right before he hit in close for a tap-in birdie at the 18th.
That is what I am going to remember about golf. And I think that if you ask any of the PGA and Senior PGA members who participate in the Father-Son Challenge, if it is one of their best memories, I think they would say the same thing.
So thank you PGA of America, for mixing it up a little, and having a tournament every year where we get to see golf the way that it was meant to be played. With smiles, hugs, and bragging rights galore.
And so for you dads out there, when your son or daughter comes to you with golf clubs in tow and a smile on their face asking for you to take them to the range or a quick nine, take them up on that offer. You never know what great memories you could be making.
And while the adage says, "the great shots bring you back," I think that being able to play a round with your father will make even the worst rounds, worth every single excruciating shot of it.