The U.S. Open on Father’s Day at famed Pebble Beach. It’s hard to imagine a more special day for our sport.
Leading up to this week’s column, I’ve had two main “thoughts” bouncing around my mind. I’ll apologize in advance for being incomplete below, but one thought that has struck me this week was amount of incredible “second dads” I’ve been blessed with throughout my life.
As a kid I, had two amazing grandfathers who are unfortunately no longer with us; Wally Ford and Jack Karzmer. And wonderful uncles; Bob, Steve and Jon Karzmer, Wally Ford Jr. and Benji Zitello.
Growing up, my best friends’ fathers were always special to me; Bob Ferranti, Bob Wire, Steve Warden, Rick Sokolov and Judge R. Scott Krichbaum.
During competitive golf, I was surrounded by special people; Coach George Kesner, Billy Santor, Gregg Matthus, Corky Kline, Rick Swartz, Herb Page and Tony Joy.
After college, so many of my friends were like fathers to me; John Potter, Jimmy Phillips, Dave Dickey, our entire group of $50 guys, and Mr. Ed Muransky who has been incredibly supportive of my family and I at The Lake Club.
Through work, I’ve always had fatherly figures to turn to: Todd Franko, Frank Hierro, Tony Stephenson, Brad White, Jim Jakubovic, and Joe Barak to name a few.
When I was lucky enough to marry my wife Beth, I gained the best father-in-law a guy could ask for in Ray Klingensmith. Not to mention a bunch of new uncles including the one and only Carmen Lofaro.
And as time marched on, I’ve seen my brother Justin Karzmer, brother-in-law Justin Gable, and “brother” Shawn Wire become incredible fathers themselves.
Not knowing how many more years I’ll have this space to share my thoughts, I wanted to be sure to thank all the fatherly figures from above who have touched my life in so many ways. I’ve always known I “could”, and in many cases “did”, turn to you throughout my life. Your advice, friendship, and love has meant so much to me.
But with this being U.S. Open Sunday at Pebble, I have to share some of my Pebble Beach memories from my trip there with my dad in December 1999.
I had just finished my first semester at Kent State and golf was 99.9% of my focus. My dad had a business meeting in San Francisco and arranged for a 24-hour father / son trip down the coast. I remember it like it was yesterday.
From checking into The Lodge the night before, to our pre-round breakfast off the 18th green, to my very nervous warm-up session, I can still to this day see the fairway dew from the first tee box. Somehow, we got a perfectly sunny 75-degree day in December. And while my father didn’t play, the time we spent together that December day at Pebble will always provide some of my most cherished memories.
I played pretty well. I lipped out a sand wedge on 7 for a hole-in-one. I remember my 3-iron over the Pacific to 12-feet on 8. And I remember my 3-wood onto the green in two on 18. It was a magical day with my first ever hero.
So on this Father’s Day, as the greatest players in the world traverse the same rolling fairways and seaside greens my pops and I walked twenty years ago, may we all take a moment to celebrate the truly special memories we know we’ll keep forever. And the people who helped create them.
Because as great as they remain in my mind, I know father time will continue to pick away at those single shot memories stored in the more distant parts of my brain. But that’s ok. Because I guarantee that as long as I know my name, I’ll always remember that walk I shared with my dad at one of the most special places on Earth.
Happy Father’s Day Pa. I love you.