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Fathers Day Miscellania (Updated)

I had intended to post links to all of the great Father’s Day posts in the blogosphere. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be as many as I had expected. So instead I want to post links leading to a few different articles.

UPDATE - JD Wetterling was kind enough to send me the link to his Father’s Day tribute to his dad. It’s just a wonderful piece of prose and pays homage to a man of God. Give it a read! You won’t be sorry.

First up, everybody’s favorite humble blogger has some exciting news to share. I give her 8/10 for originality in presenting it too. She probably gets the award for the best Father’s Day gift for her husband.

Paul Proctor, one of my favorite curmudgeons, has a thought-provoking article about hating church. “So, what’s next? Well, let’s see; we already have a preacher for people who hate preachers; that would be Rick Warren, of course. How about a Bible for people who hate the Bible? Oh yeah, Eugene Peterson already thought of that. OK – How about a Jesus for people who hate Jesus? Oh, that’s right – Opie Taylor is bringing us The Da Vinci Code movie next year, isn’t he? I wonder if any of these former “churches” will host a special “Heresy Sunday” and show it on their big screens to help those addicted to false teaching?” Uh oh.

I’m going to wrap up with an article I found in my inbox yesterday. It was written by Bob Ross and addresses some of my frustrations with the U.S. Open - a great Father’s Day tradition. Within seconds of hitting the “Post” button I’ll be taking in the last couple of hours of the tournament. A Diet Coke, a book, and the U.S. Open: The makings of a great Father’s Day.

It’s that time of summer again. A time for my yearly “tribute” to the USGA. If you have no interest in professional golf, then don’t waste your time reading any further.

The only week of the year which is more harassing to the normal emotional life of a golf fan than the week of April 15 is the week of the U. S. Open Golf Championship.

In June each year, the “United States Golf Association,” which is the “ruling body” under the operation of amateur hackers, stages its Annual Ritual called the “U. S. Open.” This event primarily serves to demonstrate to the world how no one actually plays golf, yet the tourney still manages to have the distinction in the World of Sports of being a “Major tournament.” That must be some kind of Magic.

How they manage to work such Magic, no one has yet discerned. How the Magic all began, no one has yet revealed.

Would you believe that prior to 1965 the wiseacres of the “ruling body” of golfdom actually required 36 holes to be played on the very same hot summer day to come up with a winner? The primary “test” was one of endurance. Yet somehow it still managed to be called a “Major.”

After abandoning this 36-hole method which tested “endurance,” the USGA adopted other methods, such as hard-as-rock greens, fast-fast-fast putting surfaces, deep-deep-deep rough, extending the distances, narrowing the fairways, and other contrivances to abuse the normal conditions of the great courses on which the Open was staged. Yet it was still called a “Major” in contrast to what some thought of it as being, namely, an “Oddity.”

The Annual Ritual somehow still manages to come up with some very rare incidents, scores, and other surprising doozies. For example, today a Swede, who has had only one professional win on the European Tour, shot the lowest round ever in a U. S. Open at Pinehurst — a 4-under par 66. On the very same day, former Masters champion Phil Mickelson, a multi-tournament winner on the PGA Tour and ranked one of the best players in the world, could only manage a 7-over par 77. This contrast qualifies as a “doozie.”

Perhaps the most impressive doozie which I personally ever witnessed was the missed putt by the late and lamented Payne Stewart in 1998 at The Olympic Club, San Francisco. His slow-rolling putt only missed the hole by a hair and would have normally stopped no further than an inch or two from the hole. But this was the magical U. S. Open, where nothing ever seems to be normal. Stewart’s ball took a left turn and slowly, slowly, slowly tumbled downhill before finally, finally, finally halting several yards away from the hole. The frustrated Stewart, obviously weary from waiting for the ball to come to rest, proceeded to miss the next putt, bogeying the hole, and eventually losing the tourney by a stroke to Lee Janzen. It cost Stewart $220,000 to finish second.

The apparent intent of the USGA each year is to create a classic four days of DULL AND BORING “golf.”

The Ritual cannot seem to bear to have its Dull & Boring expectations disappointed by, say, the type of exciting golf which characterizes the Masters every year. Birdies at the Open are at a minimum and eagles are almost a veritable taboo. Par 5 holes reachable in two shots are few and far between, even with some players hitting tee shots 300 yards plus.

The Open is so Dull & Boring that there is more excitement in watching a Public TV fundraiser Intermission.

The Open is so Dull & Boring that the Shopping Channel has more potential for holding your attention.

The Open is so Dull & Boring that watching it is more likely to cause you go to sleep than the TV Guide Channel.

In my past yearly articles about the Open, I have usually tried to find some “redeeming element” of some description related to the tournament. For example, in 1992, I awarded the honor to BRUCE LIETZKE, a rare pro, who had the good sense, personal integrity, and respect for the true game of Golf to refuse to play in the tournament. Bruce refused to dignify the event by allowing it to delight itself in inflicting its travesties in the name of “Golf.”

On another occasion, I gave the “Trophy” to JOHN DALY, as Big John really gave the Open what it richly deserves. I always thought that Big John had more sense than his public image portends, and his withdrawal from the tournament demonstrated it. After surveying the first nine holes of the perverted yards of turf, he realized he was not on a playing-field commensurate to the word “Golf,” and John did the only thing that a wise and decent pro should do: he shook the weedy sprouts out of his cuffs (similar to the Biblical directive), and refused to cast his pearls into the trough of the swine (see Bible, Matthew 10:14; 7:6).

This year, perhaps I will find another worthy honoree who will give the Open its due. — Bob L. Ross