My husband and I started a tradition four years ago of watching the U.S. Open together. I had never particularly enjoyed watching golf, having only played the game for a few years. That started when Kevin and I began dating and he informed me that he and his family were golfers. It would be nice, he suggested, if I was, too. So I gave it a try. Combining the hand-eye coordination I had honed during years of playing field hockey in high school with the few tidbits I picked up during a single golf lesson in May of 2002, I debuted my golf game a week or two later at Kevin's sister's graduation in upstate New York. If I remember correctly, I used a 7 iron for everything but putting that day.
So I was never particularly inclined to snuggle up on the couch with Kevin and watch five or six or 10 or 12 hours of golf coverage in a single day let alone four days straight. But in June of 2007, I was inexplicably sick. I spent nearly a month doing nothing but drinking Vitamin Water and going to doctors' appointments. So I found myself without many other options when Kevin turned on the U.S. Open that year. While he tried to teach me a bit more about the game he had grown up playing, I entertained myself by providing color commentary on the players. I pointed out the cuties. (Hello, Adam Scott.) Critiqued the bad pants. (Hello, Bubba Watson.) Criticized the crazy sunburns. (Hello again, Mr. Watson.) And a tradition was begun.
Since then, I have picked up a few more golf skills along the way, although nine out of 10 of my chip shots veer off in some unplanned direction. I still play mostly one week a year -- during my husband's family's annual reunion in Canada, just north of Glacier National Park. I happily admit that I enjoy the nature and time with my family as much -- or more -- than I do the actual golf. There are, after all, mountain vistas and wildflowers and deer and the occasional grizzly bear to be spotted on the course. But I do honestly enjoy watching a little golf every now and then with the husband. It almost always reminds me of Angel Cabrera's big win that day in 2007 at Oakmont Country Club. "How in the world is he allowed to smoke on the course?!?" I recall squawking repeatedly to my husband that Sunday.
Thankfully, that has changed. Other questionable aspects of professional golf -- fruit punch-colored shirts and unhealthy sunburns, for instance -- have not. So in honor of the final two rounds of this week's U.S. Open -- and at my husband's request -- I offer my completely sports-free Top Five Tips to the U.S. Open players from the wife-of-a-sportswriter and casual golf fan.
1. Think twice -- or maybe even four times -- about wearing white pants. Seriously. Almost no one who weighs more than 130 pounds looks good in white pants. Exceptions can be made for very fit Australians who also are fond of wearing white belts and white shoes with their white pants. Yes, I'm talking about you again, Adam Scott. Carry on.