Gentleman’s Game

Like many other people, I watched the last day of the Master’s Golf Tournament from beginning to end and thrilled to the victory of its young winner, Jordan Spieth. The field had depth and an overabundance of talent, with McIlroy, Mickelson and Rose all turning in rounds that would have won the coveted jacket on any other occasion. All of them shone as examples of the sportsmanship that forms the heart of the game: if a drive or a chip or a putt succeeded, they celebrated. If something went wrong, they showed disappointment but never anger. Spieth later said that golf is, after all, just a game (though one where he and the leaders earn quite a substantial living). I cringe when a golfer throws a club or a tantrum. That has no place on the course. This equanimity lay at the heart of my father’s philosophy about the game: one never loses one’s temper playing golf.

Spieth’s performance also displayed a bit of wisdom from my father (who played golf quite well, sometimes in the Bob Hope Invitational and other pro-am tournament around the US): the secret lies in the short game. Spieth drove from the tee into the rough more than I would have expected. He extracted himself from those predicaments with aplomb, he chipped excellently, and he putted brilliantly. This carries another lesson for life. Precision in small things outweighs grand display in large ones.

Both Spieth and especially his caddy, Michael Greller, are handsome, both straight. From a gay man’s perspective, one shakes one’s head and thinks, “We’ll need to live with the fact that straight guys are occasionally good looking too.”


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