Point of View: A Wonderful Day

What a beautiful day it was not to be going to the U.S. Open

As I walked out under the trees and breeze and sun with O’en last Thursday morning, I remarked to him on what a beautiful day it was not to be going to the U.S. Open. 

Soon after, we saw my brother-in-law (you could tell he was a golfer from his faded pink pants) advancing behind a troika of golden dogs, like Apollo in his chariot. He too, I learned, was happy to be alive on that fine day, and happy also not to be going to the U.S. Open. We’ll watch the final round on Sunday, from about 4 p.m. on.

Denied inside-the-ropes access yet again, I’ve been telling people that, when it comes to seeing anything, “it will be like trying to take a photo of the ‘Mona Lisa’ in the Louvre.”

The last time I was at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for a competition round, in 2004, I had to buy a periscope made by the Mickelson Group — for $65, I think it was, and later that year wrote it of­f as an unreimbursed professional expense. It’s in my trunk as I write, and, unless Duane Bock’s guy, Kevin Kisner, is in the running on Sunday, it will probably stay there.

Snippiness aside, the U.S.G.A. treated me fraternally when I was there for the first practice rounds on Monday with my son-in-law even though, as usual, I didn’t arrive with my papers in order. The photo on the press pass was a good likeness, though the tennis racket I’d been holding had been edited out.

Tennis, not golf, is my game. I don’t have the temperament to do anything that takes that long except sleep. As a fellow tennis player said to me the other day, “You make a bad shot in tennis and it’s over and done with — in golf you’ve got five to 10 minutes to stew over it as you walk along.”

Some guys I know play both sports, and it’s always fascinated me that they do. My hat’s off to them. My center doesn’t hold, I’m excitable, I interrupt, I jump to conclusions. That used to be on my voice mail, in fact: “Hi, this is Jack Graves, the sports editor. I’m either jumping to conclusions, running off my mouth, or batting the breeze. Please leave a message.”

Anyway, that day, as I remarked to O’en this morning, was a wonderful day to be alive — a day I spent with him rather than at the U.S. Open, a day rendered all the more joyous and secure in the knowledge that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.