Friday, July 20

Tom Watson and the Old Fart Generation

By Charles Prokop

Copyright © Charles Prokop. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Tom Watson at Turnberry in 2009. (scotchollie)
I’M A MEMBER OF TOM WATSON’S generation. I started playing golf when Jack Nicklaus was beginning to battle Arnold Palmer, and was beginning my first “real job” when Watson and Nicklaus had their “Duel in the Sun.” I was crushed as I watched Watson’s 8-iron shot go long at the 18th at Turnberry, and could hardly watch as he lost the playoff to Stewart Cink.

I cheered when Watson made the cut at this year’s Greenbrier. I knew it was just making the cut, not winning, but it was more than a pair of current top stars could do. And even though Watson finished near the bottom of the field, his performance gives golfers my age a warm feeling deep inside.

I know comparing my game to Tom Watson’s is like comparing a drunk karaoke singer to “The Velvet Fog.” Both do vaguely similar things in similar places, but only Mel Torme is worth a second look. But Watson’s game at his (and my) age encourages me to keep at it.

Last week I played with a different group than I usually do. One person in my group was 78 and another was 93. We made it around in under four hours, had a good time, and everyone played pretty well. As the young kid, I was hitting it longer and fewer times, but both of them beat me on a few holes. I actually enjoyed those defeats as much as they enjoyed those wins.

I was once playing with a guy my age and we got behind a group of older fellows. We watched as they shuffled along the fairways and across the greens, and the guy I was with said something like “I only hope that when I get to that age I’ll have the good sense to quit.”

I feel just the opposite. Some would say I’m an old fart now, and I have over 30 years of golf to go before I catch up to that 93-year-old. I only hope that when I get there I’m doing what he’s doing now.

Charles Prokop is a clinical psychologist who writes about golf at fairwaywords.

2 comments: said...

I am of the same mind as you. Why quit if you don't want to? Golf is one sport that anyone, regardless of age, can enjoy because it is not physically demanding and was really intended for leisure and relaxation. So let's until we're 103!

Bobby Talada said...

I completely agree with you. Just because some one is getting older does not mean that they have to quit some thing. As long as you can still get out there and enjoy the game then I say more power to you! Great post I believe that you have a great mind set.