Thanksgiving is the holiday that Americans stuff ourselves silly with turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, and take a moment to give thanks to all the good things in our lives. It’s that time when we get together with our families, totally smashed with high school friends at the bar the night before, watch football, and other traditions your family practices every year. Some play touch football. Others play golf. Which is what I’m doing for the first time on Thanksgiving Day this year.
Somehow I found myself on the Jitney to the Hamptons on Wednesday night. I was convinced at the last minute to join my friend and their family to play golf on Thursday morning (they do it every year) in the freezing cold (with a chance of rain) at Long Island National (apparently my friend’s dad’s friend’s sister’s cousin talked the assistant pro into opening the course for two foursomes). Good news is that snow is not in the forecast, so I’m sure it’s nothing I can’t handle (though my back may disagree), but after college I swore to never play in non-shorts weather again (I’ve broken it a few times). Whatever, no complaints. It’ll be fun and I’m thankful that I’m not spending Thanksgiving alone, eating turkey delivered by some crappy diner. And I’m excited to test out my new TaylorMade Super Burner driver (which I’m also thankful for).
I have many, many things and people to give thanks to this year. Of course, I’m thankful for my family, friends, health, etc., and at risk of getting too personal, I won’t. But I would like to share what I’m most thankful for in golf and WUP-related stuff. Even then, I’m not sure where to start because I’m genuinely beyond thankful for so much.
But here it goes…I’m thankful for:
*All you readers that take the time to read my ramblings, and for some, to even comment. One of the best parts of having a blog is the comments section and the discussion that happens in that space (save the hate-spewing–which I’m starting to crack down on).
*The WUP Team–Intern Kevin, Merf and Conor–for their contributions, support and putting up with my eccentricity.
*My incredible mentors who have imparted me with indelible advice and provided support, encouragement, and at times, tough love. And most of all, I’m thankful for their patience and faith in me, especially during the times where I feel like throwing my computer against the wall or just breaking down in tears (both of which may or may not have actually happened).
*The players, caddies and everyone on the tour that have taken the time to help out a rookie writer.
*The amazing people I’ve met and friends I’ve made on the road, who have been kind and beyond generous.
*The opportunity to play National Golf Links of America twice this summer.
*Kapalua and “the mayor” Gary Planos.
*The opportunities and privileges that I’ve been presented with this year.
*Being able to follow my passion and love my job.
*Rory McIlroy shooting 63 on the final round to win the Quail Hollow Championship and always speaking his mind.
*Ian Poulter tweeting and his intensity in match play.
*Rickie Fowler dressing in bright orange every Sunday and making that absurd putt in singles against Edoardo Molinari at the Ryder Cup.
*Stewart Cink taking a lunch break in the foursome match against Graeme McDowell and Rickie Fowler.
*Tom Watson being a class act and giving us unforgettable moments, like his last round at Pebble Beach for the US Open on Father’s Day and saluting the gallery on the Swilcan Bridge on his final hole (after the second round).
*Fred Couples wearing street-style shoes without socks and making golf seem kinda cool.
*Dustin Johnson falling apart in the final round at Pebble Beach, bouncing back so quickly, grounding his club in the bunker-or-not-a-bunker at Whistling Straits and bouncing back again by winning the BMW Championship.
*The communications team at the Travelers Championship for just being awesome.
*Matt Kuchar’s consistency and goofy smile.
*My friend James taking me into the men’s only R&A club during the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
*Knowing that Tiger won’t hit a fire hydrant and tree in front of his house in the wee hours on Thanksgiving night.
*Christina Kim’s good-nature, enthusiasm, openness and love for life.
*In-Kyung Kim donating her earnings after winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to charity.
That’s just off the top of my head. I could go on, but there’s gotta be a stopping point, right? I’m sure I’m forgetting some important things, but c’est la vie. I’m simply thankful for the incredible year I’ve had and the opportunities I’ve been given. And most of all, I’m thankful for golf. With all the serious issues and real tragedies happening in life (or in other parts of the world), playing a round of golf is a time where you can retreat for a few hours to enjoy a nice walk, share some laughs with friends (over the atrocious shot you just hit or whatever) and (sometimes) throw back a few beers.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (Or as my British friend said, “Happy ThankTiger Day!”)
Oh, I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for. And to those that played golf today, please share your experiences/fun/trouble/whatever.