Every week GOLF senior writer Michael Bamberger identifies — and ranks — the absolute, undeniably, very best things in golf right now.
7. Best Golf Piece in the New John McPhee Collection
John McPhee is a legendary 80-something writer of nonfiction who dabbles in golf now and again. He has a new collection of pieces out called The Patch and one of the pieces is called “The Orange Trapper.” The title refers to a golf-ball retrieving device he buys and uses to fish balls out of the Delaware River. If you like golf-ball hunting, or good writing, you may like this piece. Two sentences from it: “Golfers have egos in the surgeon range. They hit a drive, miss the fairway, and go looking for the ball thirty yards past where it landed.”
6. Best Recent Sentence from a Reader
Earlier this month, I wrote a long obit-tribute to a friend of mine, whose body was found last year in the Delaware River. The reader mail in response to the story was extraordinary for its depth. One writer, with his own history with the Delaware, wrote this: “I can relate to [Fred] through golf. I spent 22 years running around the world in the Air Force, raised a family, and almost 22 more now in education. Golf has and will be for as long as I can play a constant, a leveler, a shock absorber. Whatever you want to call it.” Beautiful.
5. Best Golf Courses Near Washington Crossing, Pa.
General George Washington famously crossed the icy the Delaware River from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, leaving late on Christmas Day, 1776. He and his soldiers embarked from a tiny riverside hamlet then called Taylorsville and now called Washington Crossing. Two-hundred and forty-two years later, greater Washington Crossing is a bucolic area, with farmland, government-own parkland, small-town American affluence and all the golf you could want, private and public, including Mountain View, Jericho National and Makefield Highlands. Thank you is inadequate.
4. Best December Golf Headline in the New York Times
“Put Down the Golf Clubs, Visit the Troops.” The headline was pointed at Donald Trump, but the message is broader. McPhee donated his golf-ball haul to a First Tee program. New year’s resolution for this reporter: Do more for others.
3. Best Golfy New Year’s Resolution
Play more golf.
2. Best Tiger Quote from 2018
Tiger, speaking of Sam Burns, after the rookie’s top-10 finish at Honda: “He played beautifully. Top-10 is big for him because it gets him into Tampa. He’s trying to build momentum and build his exempt status. Today and this week was a big step for him.” You may have to read it again.
1. Funniest Tiger quote in 2018
After Woods won at East Lake, his first win in five years, a reporter asked, “How do you think the world will react to this win, given you’ve probably just broken the internet?” Woods said, “Well, when I came out here, there was no internet.” Woods won his first Tour event in 1996 and his 80th in 2018. We’ll see what the new year brings, for Tiger and for the rest of us, too. In large measure, it’s up to us, right? If golf teaches anything, it teaches that. Merry days to all of you.
Michael Bamberger may be reached at [email protected]