On Matters That Matter

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones

A Friend And A Golfer

with 2 comments

Roughly about six years ago, starting around a Delhi autumn and leading up to the coming spring, I spent a good part of the capital’s pleasant season where a visit to the Delhi Golf Club on Zakir Hussain Marg was not an anomaly. The outdoor veranda of the club where tea and snacks are served is a beautiful place from where one can see the lush green course and have a relaxed conversation (I don’t know if the veranda still looks like that). It was in this unrepeatable season that I learned a little bit about golf because a lot of things converged to make it possible.

An old friend and roommate of mine had left a job in Bangalore and found another one in Delhi. I had spent the past few years staying alone and I looked forward to having an old friend for company and someone to share the rent. The most-important factor was that my roommate had joined Golf Digest India, which was and still is, edited by a common friend Prabhdev Singh.

The benefit of Golf Digest coming to my house every month courtesy my roommate and the company of an avid golfer and a golf editor gave me some idea about the game. It made me appreciate Arthur Daley’s quote: “Golf is like a love affair. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s no fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart.”

The first television major I enjoyed watching was the Augusta Masters in 2005; where Woods pulled off a win in a playoff against Chris DiMarco. An anonymous one-liner says: “Golf is life. If you can’t take golf, you can’t take life.” The part below is from an edit Prabhdev wrote for the magazine he heads.

“I have seen the Woods effect on women from quite close. First, the 2008 Masters. Waiting at the crossover at the par-3 sixth, an eye-catching blonde parked herself next to me. Soon after she started emitting sounds, the kind people make when they see something they like. I shuffled and smiled but unfortunately she wasn’t into turbaned men. The object of her desire strode purposefully down the slope from the tee and quickly walked past us, eyes fixed on his golf ball on the green. There was no way he couldn’t have seen her (or heard her!) but Tiger had golf on his mind. I was impressed with his single-mindedness.

Last year my wife accompanied me to the U.S. Open at Bethpage, just outside New York. One of the days she decided to make the trip to the golf course to see what the fuss was all about. It so happened that while she was there, Tiger finished his day’s play, and he was then to come to the informal interview area just outside the clubhouse for a quick Q&A. My wife heard about this, and she started to wait for Tiger. It began raining and I ran for cover, but there was no budging her. A security official, who seemed to have seen plenty of this before, lent her a pen in case ‘the man’ happened to be in a mood to sign. When he finally arrived was the time I actually should have run for cover. The wife was suddenly transformed from an almost middle-aged (my golf clubs lie hidden as I write this) housewife to a squealing college goer. It became quite a task to get her to leave the place even long after Tiger left, the wife insisting that he might return. I did get sympathetic looks from my colleagues.

You would have to be carved out of stone to remain impervious to such adulation, and Tiger has been subject to this kind of attention on a sustained basis ever since he started playing big-time golf. People chose to think he is god, but Tiger has shown that he is human.

As for those who have invested large sums of money in him, they would have profited equally-well by all accounts. Money on the PGA Tour has grown more than four-fold since Tiger joined it in 1996. Journeymen pros have him to thank when they dive into their swimming pools in the backyard. Like millions around the world, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Tiger Woods play golf, and I hope I get to see more of the same.

He does have some matters to settle before that. There are three people he is answerable to—his wife, on an immediate basis, and then his two kids when they are old enough to comprehend what they are being subjected to. Of course, how he goes about that is his business.”

Written by Deepan Joshi

January 19, 2010 at 12:02 am

2 Responses

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  1. If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s golf.

    hybrid driver

    January 24, 2010 at 1:47 am

    • Golf quotes are just amazing. No wonder someone thought what it spells backwards. More clearly explained by Jim Murray: “Golf is the cruelest of sports. Like life, it’s unfair. It’s a harlot. A trollop. It leads you on. It never lives up to its promises… It’s a boulevard of broken dreams. It plays with men. And runs off with the butcher.”

      Deepan Joshi

      February 8, 2010 at 2:13 am

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