Mazz: Golf? At the moment, it's more than just a game

By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Exactly eight years ago, almost to the week, I ruptured my right Achilles tendon and underwent surgery. In the days, weeks and months that followed, you know what I missed most? Golf.

And I’m not joking.

Before you get all snarky on me, just hear me out. I’m not one of these guys who plays 150 rounds of golf a year and tees it up without any guilt. I play a lot, but not that much. Eight years ago, what I learned more than anything else is that golf was what I chose to do with my time, the value of which I completely underestimated.

So why am I telling you this today?

Because I suspect you now know how I felt – times 1,000.

Look, it’s a seemingly small thing. Only it isn’t. No matter what you do for a living, whether you’re married or how many kids you have, there is a great deal in life you simply do out of necessity. You go to work. You respect your family. You honor commitments. Before you know it, your time dwindles to virtually nothing, and you cherish those moments when you do what you truly choose to do, with whom you want to do it, without any real obligations whatsoever.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 09: Tim Petrovic tees up his Tittleist ball on the first hole during the third round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Phoenix Country Club on November 09, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Massachusetts is the only U.S. state to still have a temporary ban on golf, with no formal plans to reopen. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

For me, that’s golf. For you, maybe it’s the movie theater … or a restaurant … or a sporting event. (I enjoy those things, too.) But thanks to a pandemic that still seems surreal each and every morning, those activities feel a long way off, which is why people have been all but biting at the heels of Governor Charlie Baker to re-open golf courses.

For us, during a global pandemic, golf is, was and always has been the obvious compromise. You can practice social distancing. Heck, you can even play with a mask. You get in a little exercise, escape the monotony of life amidst a virus that has shut down the entire world, participate in something that is accomplished without a video screen, be outdoors. All you really have to sacrifice is the 19th hole – no small thing there – but at the moment that seems like a terribly small price to pay.

On Wednesday, amid rumors of golf courses finally opening, Baker made no formal announcements. By evening, Massachusetts was effectively the only state remaining to have a restriction on golf still in place. By last night, rumors were swirling that the ban was about to be lifted, something that formally took place Thursday morning.

If you think this kind of obsession is foolish, you’d be right – under normal circumstances. But over the last several weeks and months, depending on where you live, times have been anything but normal. Things once regarded as the simplest tasks – a trip to Dunkin', anyone? – have now become critical, simple pleasures. That makes golf feel like a winning lottery ticket.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 13: A general view of the 17th green is seen after the cancellation of the The PLAYERS Championship and consecutive PGA Tour events through April 5th,2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic as seen at the TPC Stadium course on March 13, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 13: A general view of the 17th green is seen after the cancellation of the The PLAYERS Championship and consecutive PGA Tour events through April 5th,2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic as seen at the TPC Stadium course on March 13, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

So, what happens from here? Excellent question. Life as we knew it isn’t likely to return anytime soon – and we’re talking months, probably years. So let’s not kid ourselves. But for the moment at least, we all just might be getting something back, even if it’s not something for all of us, and that means we might get something else back before too long, too.

In the interim, if I’m not at home, you can probably find me on the golf course in the coming days and weeks. And if you can’t, be sure to take a longer, more deliberate look.

I might be in the woods, after all.

Looking for my ball.

Maybe even wearing a mask.

You can hear Tony Massarotti weekdays from 2-6 p.m. EST on the Felger & Massarotti program. Follow him on Twitter @TonyMassarotti.