This Game Belongs To You
Where were you on the morning of Tuesday, June 6, when arguably the biggest bombshell of modern professional golf exploded simultaneously across the screens of televisions, phones and computers? Where were you when initial shock and disbelief quickly gave way to hot takes, kneejerk boycotts and I-told-you-so verbal victory laps?
The unexpected (though, possibly inevitable) merger of three professional golf tours is one of those seminal moments that leaves an impression so deep that you might long remember your precise location when you first heard the news. Though, I’d argue, it’s worth forgetting sooner than later. Because it simply does not matter.
This beautiful game of golf that dates back hundreds of years has always, and will always, belong to you, the amateur. Nothing can take that away. Deals made in rooms you’ll never be in, for players you’re likely never to meet, amounting to money that most of us cannot even fathom, has no bearing whatsoever on our cherished relationship with golf.
It’s simple math. There are tens of millions of us. And just hundreds of them. Amateurs who play this game for love so greatly outnumber touring pros who play for money that calling us a super majority doesn’t even do it justice. We are golf. And golf is us.
I do, however, remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. I was at Woodley Lakes GC with seven co-workers about to tee it up as part of a farewell party to a colleague. To my left was a driving range full of locals and to my right was a short-game practice area occupied by a handful of juniors receiving instruction. Out in front was a group of four friends in the first fairway enjoying their afternoon in each other’s company, and just behind me were the seven people I couldn’t wait to spend four hours with.
No banter was cut short, no laugh was stifled, no smile after a good shot was absent. On our phones the alleged “golf world” was on fire. But we were too busy living in reality to notice or care. And if you’ve so much as taken a practice swing since June 6, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Nothing on the professional tour level can steal a modicum of your joy on the amateur level.
Regardless of your convictions relating to the merger, I’d encourage you to never forget that standing on a tee box with your best friends is far more important than standing on a side of an issue that you cannot control. Especially, and more importantly, an issue that cannot control you and your love for the game — your game.