Fatherhood has interrupted this blog.

My wife and I welcomed our first child into the world last Wednesday, June 16. The 7 pound, 4 ounce little bundle of joy has dramatically changed our lives in less than a week. Even though we had 9 months to prepare, parenthood is one of those things that, I believe, you have to learn on the job.

The classes and books are nice, but when you’ve got a screaming four-day-old child projectile pooping on your shirt while you’re trying to change his diaper at three in the morning…well, books ain’t gonna help much.

Yesterday, my first Father’s Day, I was able to hold the little man and sit back and watch the U.S. Open. No amount of money could buy a better Father’s Day gift than that. Even with the near constant diaper changes, it was one of the best days of my life. I just soaked it all in–pun intended. I think he’s a Mickelson fan already, so he wasn’t crazy about McDowell winning the Open. He peed on me not long after that final putt.

Parenthood is going to bring major changes. My golf game is about to take a serious hit, more than likely. I’m hoping my blog posts won’t slow down, and with all the late nights to come, my guess is that it won’t. But, like I said, the life changes are totally worth it–and meaningless in comparison to the little man. Golf, restaurants–it all can wait.

Like any new father, I envision a future of throwing the baseball, swinging the golf club, playing in the yard. I can’t wait for all of that. But as I sit here and type up this post in my dimly lit office, with the little 7 pounder curled up in the bassinet next to me, all I want to do is just soak this all in. They grow up fast, I’m told. I’m going to enjoy every second while it lasts–even the projectile poop.

Gotta run.

Nathan Green likes soccer...a lot. (Image: Buried Elephant/Flickr)

Nathan Green is a professional golfer. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He did win the Canadian Open last year.

Anyway, as a pro golfer, you would expect Mr. Green to opt for an opportunity to qualify for the U.S. Open over, say, watching the World Cup on the television. No-brainer, right?

Think again. After finishing 41st in last week’s Memorial, Green told Golfweek he was scrapping his plans to qualify for the Open on Monday: “I’m really not that interested in playing it,” Green said. “I’d rather sit home on the couch and watch soccer than beat my head against a brick wall for four days.”

To that quote, one veteran Tour caddie responded: “Let’s face it, [not showing up] proves some of these guys make too much money.”

Isn’t that the truth. Look, I’m all for supporting your country in The World Cup. I come out of soccer-watching hibernation every four years to support the U.S. team.

But, even though Green is an Aussie (and that’s who he’ll be cheering for), I still can’t comprehend passing up the opportunity to qualify for–and possibly play in–The United States Open. Wow.

Hey Nathan, have you ever heard of DVR? Geesh.

I like old men. I’ve known many of them. I hope to be an old man one day.

But there’s something about golf courses, particularly country clubs, that turn old men into grumpy and irritable curmudgeons.  Yeah, I just threw down “curmudgeon” on a golf blog.

The Grumpy Old Man hates you. (Image: MissLPS/Flickr)

Surely you’ve seen The Grumpy Old Man on your local course. He usually travels in packs—a foursome with other grumpy old men—and plays early in the morning.

He uses colored balls and normally has a long towel hanging out of his back pocket. Children speak in hushed whispers when he shuffles past them.

The only time you’ve seen him smile was after he scolded your eight-year-old son for running in the parking lot. If you’re a member of a country club, your least favorite grumpy old man probably has a member number somewhere between 1 and 50.

But if there’s one thing you need to know about The Grumpy Old Man, it’s this: He hates you. He really, really hates you. But don’t feel bad; The Grumpy Old Man hates everyone other than the three grumpy old men in his foursome.

You see, he remembers when only 100 people played his course. He was playing golf on your course when Old Tom Morris was traversing across St. Andrews and goats kept the grass short. To him, you are an outsider who has infected his club with Miller Lites and loud children.

If you dare encroach upon The Grumpy Old Man’s regular foursome, don’t expect to get waved through. He will slow down just to spite you. Sure, he always walks slowly. But if you hit a ball within 50 yards of his group, he will show you how slowly he really can walk. You just watch.

The Grumpy Old Man is also a lousy tipper. Having worked as a cart guy at the course at which I used to play, take it from me. The Grumpy Old man doesn’t tip at all—even if you make his clubs so shiny that he can see his own grizzled reflection in them.

If you complain about The Grumpy Old Man, don’t expect your club pro or general manager to do anything. He hates them, too.

But, after all, he’s member number 7—and in the world of country clubs and golfing establishments, that’s akin to being a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Are you going to tell Alexander Hamilton to take a hike?

So I leave you with this fair warning, fellow golfers: Heed these lessons from The Grumpy Old Man lest you become a grumpy old man yourself.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#15: The Overzealous Rules Enforcer

#14: The Drive-By Honker

#13: The Golf Ball Finder Guy

#12: The Wannabe Golf Instructor

#11: Golf Simulators

#10: Pre-Shot Routine Guy

#9: Cell Phone Guy

#8: The Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

In other words, if you were to wake up this morning 30 minutes before your tee time, throw your clothes on, grab your clubs, and arrive at the first tee 5 minutes before tee time, what would you shoot?

Sure, you can’t really predict these things…maybe. But I like to call this your default score. It’s not good; it’s not bad. It’s just what you shoot on a normal day.

My default score is 81. I realized this last Saturday after playing 18 holes with my friends Tom, Lewis, and Chris at Forest Crossing. Other than my driver, my golf game pretty much sucked that day. I was +10 on the 18th green with a 50 foot birdie putt. As I stood over the putt, I thought, I suck. I’m about to shoot an 82. But I canned the ridiculously long putt. I shot an 81. Suddenly, I thought to myself, Okay, things are normal.

Is there really a difference between and 81 and an 82? Not really. Neither is that impressive, unless your looking to win the C flight of your club championship.  But, somehow, that 50 f00t birdie putt, and that round of 81, made everything okay–even though that was my only birdie of the round in miserable 90 degree heat.

So what’s your default score? If you woke up this morning and didn’t care how you played, what would you shoot?

One of the greatest shows in the history of television wrapped things up on Sunday night, culminating—in my opinion—with one of the best finales I’ve ever watched. Lost is over. And, man, that makes me sad.

Hope. Redemption. Forgiveness. All of the main characters on this character-driven show found what they were looking for at the end. Not every question was answered, but that was never the point of Lost in the first place. If you stayed with Lost until the series finale and somehow expected everything to tie up in a pretty bow, then you missed the point.

I was thinking about some of my favorite episodes yesterday, and a cool golf-related episode (“Solitary”) from season 1 came to mind. Most of the group was living in a cave at the time, and Hurley—the show’s primary comic relief—found some old abandoned golf clubs.

Stuck on an island with nothing to do, Hurley builds a makeshift golf course. Hilton Head golf it is not, but the course provides some stress-relief for the castaways.

The video I posted is not from the actual episode, but it’s a pretty funny extra feature—with Jin, Hurley, and Michael. Jin loses his mind after missing a putt. Hilarious stuff.

Is it possible that Jerry Rice is worse at golf than Michael Jordan was at baseball?

In his second Nationwide Tour event, Jerry Rice fired a 92-82 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Two weeks ago, Rice shot an 83-76 in his debut Nationwide event. I briefly wrote about that train wreck here.

Yes, those scores are awful. But here’s the kicker, Rice was disqualified in his second event because his caddy used a yardage scope in the fairway. Are you kidding me? The Nationwide Tour should be embarrassed to let this guy use corporate sponsors. Are they that hard up for publicity?

If Rice was competing on some small regional mini tour, then that’s fine. But the Nationwide is a smidgen below the PGA Tour–these golfers are the real deal–so why taint that with some publicity stunt from a guy who couldn’t make a cut if he played in every tournament for five years?

Unbelievable.

You know Rice doesn’t belong on the Nationwide for the mere fact that he said he was pleased with a second round 76 during his debut tournament. Dude, if you’re happy with a 76 on the Nationwide Tour, you’ve got serious issues.

Thankfully, Rice was quoted in USA Today as saying, ““Because I can’t commit to golf the way I want to, this is probably my last Nationwide Tour event.” Let’s go ahead and eliminate that “probably”, Jerry. Save yourself the embarrassment, and keep the range finder in the bag, please.

This Rice debacle leads me to one question: Who was worse at their second sport…was it Rice at golf or Michael Jordan at baseball?

Talk amongst yourselves.

This pet peeve is about me.

I’ll admit it. I’m an overzealous rules enforcer. Heck, I even wrote a reoccurring column about golf rules on this blog a couple of years ago.

If you carry one of these in your bag, you, too, might be an overzealous rules enforcer.

For whatever reason, golf is a sport where no one bothers to follow—or even understand—the rules. I’ve met people who have been playing golf for 10 years and still don’t know what a red stake signifies.

How is that possible? To me, that’s like saying, “What is that mound of dirt in the middle of a baseball field?” How can you not know that?

Granted, there are a ton of rules in golf—a lot of them are very specific and detailed. But you’ve got to know the basics.

I’m all about fairness, you see. If we’re playing in a game or a tournament and I’m re-teeing after hitting a ball out of bounds, you better know I’m going to make sure you re-tee as well. Don’t try and drop a ball outside the white stakes. That’s not a hazard.

If I’m spotting you 5 shots (or vice versa), you can bet I will make sure you aren’t using your hand wedge in the fairway.

If you’re talking smack about beating me by a shot but dropped your ball 50 yards ahead of where it went into a water hazard, well…I’m going to call you out on that too.

I’ve been called a rules nazi, but I believe there’s a place for it.

Look, if you’re just out having a good time with some friends or family, there’s no money on the line, nothing at stake, not even bragging rights—then I can understand bending the rules a touch.

But remember to put an asterisk by your score, because if you shot an 82 with 2 mulligans, then you really didn’t shoot an 82. Would you say you scored a touchdown if you were tackled at the 5 yard line? Just sayin’. I’ve known groups of guys who go on incredible golf trips, organize these ridiculous 3 day tournaments, and then look the other way while a bunch of goobers cheat through the whole tournament and take home a few thousand bucks. Really?

When I’m playing on a busy course, I’ll usually give my playing partners anything inside 2 feet—just to help with pace of play. I think that’s fair and reasonable. But if there’s anything on the line—including bragging rights—I might not be so giving.

It’s all about the situation. The more serious the situation gets, the more strictly I will enforce the rules.

If that makes me an overzealous rules enforcer, then guilty as charged.

I am golf pet peeve #15.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#14: The Drive-By Honker

#13: The Golf Ball Finder Guy

#12: The Wannabe Golf Instructor

#11: Golf Simulators

#10: Pre-Shot Routine Guy

#9: Cell Phone Guy

#8: The Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer