It's been tough since you died, but I was all smiles (with some happy tears) when I found a shoebox full of Polaroids in your dresser. I'm sure you remember the pictures--the two of us at the Acropolis, in the stands at a Braves game (remember when the foul ball landed in my soda cup?), playing on your porch. The images are a treasure to me, beautiful reminders of the amazing things you brought into my life.
My favorite shots are the ones of us playing golf. Mom used to think you were absolutely nuts starting me out in the game when I was only a toddler, and my friends thought it was weird when I'd return from those winter vacations with you and Bopi down in Palm Beach and talk about golf lessons and putting contests instead of Mickey Mouse and the beach. But you trusted your instincts and knew what I'd like best. Here are my favorite memories of our golfing life.
•The time just after I'd started playing when I came jumping off the green and into your cart yelling, "I broke my record! I made a 23!"
•Eating BLT sandwiches with supercrispy bacon and rye toast at the Breakers.
•When we'd sit in the cart on the 1st tee and you'd let me rummage though your little white purse filled with balls (I liked the yellow ones best) and colored tees (blue was my favorite).
•Turning around during a lesson with the pro to see you under a palm tree smiling in that green plastic chair.
•Your long and loose swing (like a slow-motion version of Vijay Singh's) and how you'd whip your wrists through the ball, a move you said Manuel de la Torre taught you.
•When you took me to the Greenbrier. Remember putting in the aisle during the long train ride from New York City? The tees down there made me feel as if I were driving off mountaintops.
•Our marathon putting contests on the tiny practice green at the Breakers.
•When you'd sit patiently in the cart while Bopi and I would troll lakesides looking for alligators and fishing for balls.
•When I'd drag both of our pull carts through the bunkers at the par-3 course in Palm Beach.
•Going to the grocery store to redeem S&H Green Stamps for Pinnacles.
•When you let me use your shiny Hogan irons and woods. The first summer I used them, I won a tournament.
•The putting tip you gave me in college when I had the yips: "Honey, putt with love."
I've passed along that tip to little Ricky in our living room, but it's not helping. Ricky isn't interested in hitting the ball at any target. He won't even swing the club I got him. He likes to roll balls under the tables and chairs and then crawl under the furniture to retrieve them. Did I do that when I was 17 months old?
by RICK LIPSEY
Pros' bailing out of rainy events looks bad. The Tour needs to plug this leak.
COURTESY OF RICK LIPSEY
Gram cured my yips with a very simple tip: "Honey, putt with love."