Commentary - Lessons learned at HazeltineMy son and I had the privilege of attending Monday’s PGA practice round at Hazeltine. I viewed it as a great chance to explain how golf is a game of individual accomplishment built upon self control, etiquette, courtesy and a respect of others.
By Scott Berger,
My son and I had the privilege of attending Monday’s PGA practice round at Hazeltine. I viewed it as a great chance to explain how golf is a game of individual accomplishment built upon self control, etiquette, courtesy and a respect of others.
In the eyes of my son, like many other kids, Tiger Woods represented the profession of golf. Our arrival was met with the smiling faces of bus drivers, PGA volunteers, and warm greetings from Hazeltine members and vendors.
We caught up to Tiger Woods on the 4th hole and continued with him until 15. I noticed many kids and adults respectfully waiting for him to sign a flag, a hat, or just give them a glance showing that their verbal support hadn’t gone unnoticed. The lack of response from him surprised me. I explained to my son that this was his “job” and the sport to which he has devoted his life.
We headed to the clubhouse area where my son and three other young boys waited for more than an hour in an attempt to get Tiger’s autograph at the completion of the “practice” round. As the players left the 18th green, Tiger’s partners showed their appreciation by walking toward the boys and hundreds of others that had now joined them. Tiger paused inside of a gated area, smiled, provided an autograph to a course volunteer while the TV camera rolled, and then headed straight into the clubhouse, avoiding everyone else.
My son asked me why Tiger hadn’t walked with his partners and I didn’t have an answer. We walked back out onto the course where many other “professionals” made the experience positive. The players interacted with the crowd, provided autographs, and the caddy for Andres Romero handed my son a bottle of water out of one of the tee box coolers.
We arrived back at Canterbury Park to find that our car battery was dead. In our haste to get to the course, I had left the lights on. Four young security guards drove over and jump-started our car free of charge.
I can’t begin to understand what it is like to earn a living as a “professional” golfer and to face the pressures that come with being a “Tiger Woods.” I do understand, however, that we are surrounded by “professionals” who use their profession as a way to reach out to others and bring them to a higher place through personal interaction. The lesson I was hoping that the players would reinforce in my son was done so by a caddy, four security guards and countless volunteers. None of whose names will be printed on the leader board.