Sunday, June 21, 2015

The US Open and misplaced nostalgia

They are many that maintain the people that grew up during the 1930s -40s were the "greatest generation". After all, they suffered through the Great Depression and fought WW II.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

These were also the same people that taught their school children they'd be safer by sitting with their backs against the wall in the hallway with their knees up to their chest -- if nuclear war broke out and one landed nearby. Those pesky Russkies might invade any minute now. And that touching a toad would give them warts. And stepping on cracks would break their grandma's back. God forbid they should see someone naked -- they'd go blind. In hindsight, it was all nonsense, of course. The most paranoid generation might be more like it.

There are also many who claim golf needs him (guess who?) and the game has suffered since his decline. Hogwash. The sport has never been better for fans and viewers. Consider some of the young players who currently make it interesting every week.

#1 ranked Rory McIlroy made a charge on Sunday at the US Open only to fall short.
#2 ranked Jordan Spieth just became the youngest player ever (21) to win both the Masters and the US Open in the same year.
The Aussies have their own contingent. Adam Scott finished with a blistering 64 on a brutal Chambers Bay course and Jason Day, vertigo and all, was in contention throughout.
Dustin Johnson heart-breakingly 3-putted from 12 feet on the 18th green to lose it, though he had played superbly for four rounds.
South African Louis Oosthuizen shot an incredible 29 on the back nine, making birdies at 6 out of the last 7 holes. It wouldn't be quite enough to win the tournament, but it's a US Open record.
Players like Matt Kuchar, Ricky Fowler (though he bombed out of this one), and even the not-so-well liked Patrick Reed are on the prowl every week.
What do they have in common? They all got serious game and Oosthuizen aside, they're all in their 20s. Another common trait is they're all gentlemen and behave themselves accordingly while playing.

The final round at this year's US Open was the most exciting, back and forth, nailbiting, down to the last shot golf yours truly can remember. Amongst many players.

So who needs Tiger with his cursing, club pounding, and whatever on or off the course "drama" of the week he always seems to bring when professional golf is so chock full of young exciting talent?

Perhaps it's nostalgic. People long for what once was and think the good old days were better.

No they weren't. The fields of medicine and various other sciences have made tremendous advances. People live longer. Technology seems to morph every day into something easier, faster, and can do more. The greatest generation of old was no such thing. The greatest generation is the current one and the next one will be even better -- politicians notwithstanding. Ahem.

And so it goes with golf. Eldrick Tont Woods had his day, actually a decade, as king of the hill. So did Jack. And Arnie. And Ben and Byron before them. But it's over and the next better generation is upon us. Why not appreciate it for what it is instead of pining about history?

This is not to say nostalgia is always a bad thing. Every time I drive past where a local drive-in movie used to be, I remember the heady days of my high school girlfriend and something about the back seat of my old Chevy Nova. Sure did see the start and end of a lot movies, but always seemed to miss out on the middle part for some reason. Go figure.

With apologies to Archie and Edith -- those were the days indeed......

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