If he were alive, my grandfather would probably tell me not to post his golf scorecards online. Not because he didn't shoot well -- he was a really good golfer -- but because he didn't like attention.
He deserved it though. The guy hit his eighth hole-in-one at the age of 91, about seven months before cancer took his life. Pretty remarkable.
After his funeral, during the process of distributing his personal effects, I ended up collecting whole slew of golf paraphernalia, including his favorite golf books, his hole-in-one balls (he'd mounted them all himself, in an amusingly rudimentary and frugal fashion) and a giant shoebox full of scorecards.
Sifting through the box a few months after his funeral offered a surprisingly nostalgic way of walking back through his life. He played a lot of golf. The box contained rounds from Willow Creek Country Club when he'd visited us in North Carolina. An 18 played with my grandmother at Circolo Golf Villa D'Este in Italy from a Europe vacation in 1975. Rounds of golf from Coral Harbour in the Bahamas, Muskogee Country Club in Oklahoma and everything in between.
He kept meticulous notes on these cards too. On February 15, 1984 -- a Thursday -- it was "very windy" at Indian Wells. (Might explain the 82.)
Despite the attention to detail, I was still surprised when I pulled out a paper-clipped group of scorecards with a sticky note that read "Eagles."
Eagles are special, don't get me wrong. I could count mine on a two-fingered hand. But it made no sense for "Daddy Pat" to clip them in their own special section.
Until I peeled back the sticky to reveal where he was when he was when he recorded the eagle.
That scorecard was from March 29, 1976. And there's no mention of weather but the big, red circle on No. 8, Yellow Jasmine, certainly stands out.
It didn't really occur to me until today but Pat nailed that Eagle at Augusta just 13 days before Raymond Floyd would win the 1976 Masters with a score of 17 under par (beating out Ben Crenshaw and Jack Nicklaus for a cool $40,000 prize).Today Yellow Jasmine plays as a 570-yard par five, forty yards longer than it did in 1976.
As the scorecard indicates, it's the third hardest handicap hole on the course. Birdie is absolutely in play for just about everyone at the Masters this year. Eagle is there for the taking too, although it's far from easy. That's even more true for an amateur in 1976.
Pat, as he wrote on another scorecard, used driver, followed by a four wood that landed him on the green in two shots and then sunk his putt for the eagle.
We have countless images and video clips from historical Augusta. I wasn't born in 1976 so I certainly didn't know my grandfather when he posted that score. And there's definitely no video of his late March round.
Somehow a scorecard is plenty to picture the moment.