For those who've never played in the rain, when it's blowing twenty miles an hour or higher, they haven't experienced golf as it was meant to be played. Playing on a balmy day, on a soft golf course, golf is about as easy, and boring as it can get. There isn't much to think about. You're a hundred and fifty yards from the pin, so you grab your seven iron and fire away. There's little thought involved. You don't have to think about the club to grab, how high you want to hit it, what shape to give it, where you want to land it; you just grab your seven iron and fire away. If your swing is on, you'll look like a golfer and you'll make a score; if you can putt. But, as the Scots say, "It's nae golf."
Just let the wind blow, and maybe some rain fall, and you'll find out whether you can play. You won't need your rangefinder. It won't be of much assistance. You'll appreciate some good waterproofs, however. Golf is a blast when, because the wind's blowing, and you find yourself on a true links, you probably have umpteen shots you might play. But, you'd better give it some thought.
In those conditions, on a Scottish links, with the wind blowing, you won't have the time, or the inclination to get caught up worrying about swing mechanics. Your attention must be on trying to figure out the best shot to play. Then you're really playing golf.
The great players relish the tough conditions. Because, if they are great players, they know that is when they will really shine. The fair-weather players will fold up like cheap umbrellas in a wee breeze, and only the guys who have learned the game, and what a ball can be made to do, and how it must be struck to make it do it, will contend when the conditions get tough. Actually, when it's raining and blowing, the conditions aren't considered bad for the great players. The conditions aren't bad; they're just right.
It's going to be real golf this week at the Old Course in St Andrews. The wind's blowing, there's going to be rain, and the best golfer will prevail. And this week, Tom Watson, one of golf's greatest players, will bid adieu to the St Andrews fans. He may not make the cut. He's getting on and nobody really thinks he should. But, he'll be embracing the challenge, and, the more it blows, and the more it rains, the better his chances will be. He's a great golfer, and the Scots love him.
Thanks for the memories, Tom.