The Masters: A Tribute to Fathers and the Greatest Game

The Golden Bear and his son on the bag at the 1986 Masters

Every Spring, as The Masters Championship begins,  one thing comes to mind, my dad. He has been a PGA professional for over 25 years, and my brother and I grew up around the game. In fact, golf is at the very core of us; something that connects the generations. Each April as the eyes of Americans return to Augusta and Amen corner, I am always reminded of my dad, my brother and my grandfather. Golf (and the Masters in particular) has always been a bonding experience for fathers and sons.

The Walrus and his son, Kevin

This year, Craig “The Walrus” Stadler and his son Kevin are playing as the first father and son to play in the same masters. A magical moment. Yet Augusta is not stranger to the heartwarming tales of the triumphs of men and their dads. I want to share with you a great article written several years back for ESPN by Wright Thompson about The Masters, fathers and sons, and their love for each other and the game of golf.

(click image for link)

 

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2 thoughts on “The Masters: A Tribute to Fathers and the Greatest Game

  1. Ay, there is no doubt that the game of golf, with Augusta’s beautiful course and fabled legends as it’s figurehead (in the US at least), is a great connection between generations of men. I’m admittedly terrible at the sport, but fondly reflect on hungover Sunday mornings in college going to the course and shwacking around for a bit with my best friends. A grandfather I never knew died from a heart attack in his 80’s upon sinking a putt on the 18th hole after a long day at work. I might not be a fanatic, but I understand the culture.

    However, I can’t ignore the blatant oppression that has occurred in the game of golf (and especially at Augusta National), that paints an ugly underbelly to this male camaraderie. The privilege that Augusta National has sought to preserve for decades, fighting against societal norms, is frankly disgusting. African-Americans weren’t allowed to even compete until 1975 and couldn’t be members until 1991. Women weren’t admitted until 2 years ago. I honestly don’t understand how Condeleezza Rice, a member of both oppressed groups, can so happily don that green jacket and play a round as if Augusta National isn’t laced with ignorant and oppressive white male privilege. (see more here: http://www.salon.com/2013/04/11/the_masters_presents_a_phony_sanitized_south/)

    So yes, it’s appropriate and beautiful to celebrate the familial bonds that golf can bring across generations of men. But if we ignore the discrimination, the privilege, and the straight-up oppression, then celebrating those bonds only reifies the dominant privilege of white males in our society. As modern men, we need to celebrate the bonds we share while working to deconstruct the oppressive privileges we hold.

    • RD – Adam (The Beard) here. Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply, as well as your continued readership and involvement in what Conor and I are working on.

      Yes, with each passing year, it becomes harder and harder to reconcile my enjoyment of golf (a game I too am horrible at) and the pleasure I get from watching the Masters with my dad (someone I’d say is a historian of all things basketball and golf-related) with Augusta National Golf Club serving as one of the last bastions of the “good ol’ boys” mentality. I’m not sure CBS and ESPN have any social responsibility to put Augusta’s discriminatory policies or its controversial (very recent) history under the spotlight; they’re role is simply to cover the results of a tournament.

      (Although their analysts have no problem tackeling whether college athletes should be paid or not during the NCAA tournament. I guess that’s the less controversial of the two battles)

      But I think we as fans of the game can and should certainly do more to highlight how backwards the club continues to operate. We can continue to notify news organizations, post about it online, talk about it in the workplace, or even have a discussion WHILE watching the Masters. It’s certainly one of those places you look at and can’t help but thinking, “Wait, it’s still like that there?” And I thought your comment about Condolleeza Rice was spot on.

      Conor and I discussed me doing a follow-up piece to Friday’s post, something of a “Part 2,” highlighting these issues. I decided against it at the time because I thought Conor’s overarching theme of golf being something he’s shared with the men in his life was more important at the time than me quickly piecing together a piece in the different direction. It’s not that I didn’t want to; I didn’t think it fair to devote 30 minutes to half-assing something that deserves much more time and discussion, which I think this topic does.

      I also think there’s something to be said about a young white male commenting on the unfairness of priviledges not extend to minority groups while he takes part in those same priviledges. We can certainly help add to these types of discussions by asking someone else to help us comment on those issues going forward.

      We won’t skim over these topics as this things moves forward. We’re beginning to understand just how much time and energy we need to devote to this, and with that understanding we’ll be able to provide more fleshed out pieces that hopefully lead to these exact conversations you wished we had had on Friday. I understand you wanting more – I wish we had done more. And you can expect more as we go forward!

      Thanks again for your contributions and readership. We look forward to sharing with you as we continue to grow!

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