We watch. Whenever they show pro golf on TV, whether it’s on a weekend afternoon or a replay in the middle of the night, we watch.
Friends, especially non-golfers, don’t understand it. “You’d get it if you played,” we tell them. We’re like a secret society that has unlocked the door to one of life’s great mysteries.
But now that the FedExCup playoffs have been improved, here’s hoping that there will be more of us in that society. This month should be interesting, to say the least.
The playoffs have been shortened (three tournaments instead of four, moved up to finish in August) and simplified. No more week off. No more skipping a tournament and still winning. No more watching a key shot between key plays in a football game (unless you like exhibition football, which is a society even I don’t understand).
Best of all, no more two-champions-in-one-day in the final event. Under the new scoring system, the 30 players in the Tour Championship will start the opening round with a score between even par and 10-under. The tournament will progress from there like a normal PGA Tour event.
They’ll be playing for more prize money, too. The winner will take home $15 million, up from $10 million.
But the money isn’t what makes us watch. It’s the same lure as the intense desire to play our great game. We can’t get enough of it.
What a joy it is every July to be able to watch golf from Great Britain or Ireland in the middle of the night. It’s like getting rewarded for not being able to sleep.
What a joy it is to watch tournaments that truly mean something, which is why this month is extra special. It’s fun to see those guys sweat.
What a joy it is just to watch shots. There’s something inspiring about the sight of Koepka, such a cool customer, strolling down the fairway after another monster drive and perfect second shot.
It makes me realize that everything I do on the golf course – my preshot routine, my mannerisms, my attention to etiquette – is the result of watching the pros on TV. I study. I admire. I embrace.
Of course, you also have to know what not to emulate. I’ve had to put out of my mind the temper tantrums of certain players, especially one T. Woods. I don’t want to repeat that behavior, and if I’m teaching someone how to play, I am sure to weed that out of their game as early as possible.
The PGA Tour is like our classroom, and we are the students. The final grades are handed out on our scorecards. It propels us to want to play more, and it also should propel us to want to play better.
So keep playing, keep watching and keep learning. It’s fun to be part of a secret society. You don’t even need a password to get in. And once you gain entry, you realize that we’re all in this quest together – even the pros.