Happy Belated Father’s Day, Nerds.
My dad, in honor of both his special day and the best tournament in pro golf, took me to the U.S. Open at Bethpage. I soaked in the sights, sounds, and startling Golgotha-esque levels of mud and muck. For sake of both speed and thoroughness, I’m going to list out both the Stunning Highs (SH) and Astonishing Lows (AL) of my experience at the public course at Farmingdale. Here we go.
SH: The conditions of the fairways and greens. Everyone on the East Coast has been aware of the monsoon currently soaking the seaboard. What everyone is not aware of is that there are hundreds of men and women with hundreds of grass-drying tools constantly working to keep Bethpage playable. If nature was left to its own devices, the entire town would be underwater. But due to the magnificent interference of the bold water wickers, only about 99% of it is. The remaining 1% was where the best golfers in the world were.
AL: The mud has to go somewhere. And that somewhere was the grandstands and foot paths. I’m not mad or anything, since I was wearing a pair of throwaway sneakers. But still, being on your feet for seven straight hours and having those feet constantly in mud gave me a sense of what Valley Forge might’ve been like.
SH: The quality of the play. I saw Tiger nail a birdie, Phil nail two, and players from all over the world content with the conditions with impossible levels of skill.
AL: How terrible I am at golf. Watching the highest levels of play remind me why I hung up the soft cleats a couple years back. I can’t drive without an ugly slice. My short game doesn’t come into play until I’m already one over on the hole. And I keep equating my score with my self-worth.
SH: The food and drinks. Lemonade, stuffed pretzels, hot dogs, sandwiches of all sorts, served from concessions tents spread throughout the course.
AL: The press of people at those concession stands. The lunch rush was overwhelming, and since you couldn’t bring in food or drink, there’s a good chance you could wait in line for an hour to get water. Seems dangerous, considering the number of older folks that had been hoofing it around all day.
SH: An efficient bus transportation network that connected all of the satellite parking lots.
AL: Having to pay $35 to park at a gas station due to flooding.
SH: Seven hours with my dad.
AL: Seven hours trying to keep up with my dad.
SH: The noise from the New York gallery.
AL: The failure of the golfers to keep a straight face when hearing some of the comments.
And the biggest SH of all: My clubs are now in the trunk of my car.