Having Fun At Golf

As I was watching the Masters’ today, I was stuck by how much Phil Mickelson seemed to be enjoying himself. He wore a big smile on his face, looked at people in the crowd and acknowledged their applause. But this wasn’t just because he was in contention at the Masters’ — Phil always seems to be enjoying himself.

Much like a guy named Arnold Palmer.

I wasn’t around for the days when Palmer was winning Masters’ and Opens. But in the film that I’ve seen, he always seems to be having a good time. And the crowd responded. That’s why Arnie had an Army.

So perhaps it was fitting that, on the weekend that Palmer hung up his cleats at Augusta, a personable guy like Phil won.

I don’t know that the other guys on the tour aren’t enjoying themselves. But if they are, many of them aren’t showing it. I’ve never thought Tiger was having a good time. Davis, Vijay, Freddy … most of them don’t seem to be having a lot of fun. Yes, I know its a business — and a livelihood for them — and they have to take it seriously, but for heavens sake, it’s GOLF.

I coach boys and girls high school golf. My number one rule for them is: Have Fun. If we are not having fun, then there’s not much point in playing. Of course, having fun has a lot of meaning: it’s more fun if you play by the rules; it’s more fun if you show proper courtesy; it’s more fun if you make an effort to play better. But, in the end, you have to have fun.

So here’s to the guys who have fun playing golf and show it.

Congratulations, Phil.

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