In celebration of Father's Day in the United States, Global Golf Post Plus will, between now and June 20, share a collection of stories on how the bond between fathers and their children is strengthened through the game. Today, Joe Monahan III, father of PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, kicks off the series.
Be it casual or competitive, golf offers a unique opportunity for a father and son to spend hours together in a bucolic setting, polishing their skills while spending quality time with one another. My family, the Monahans, is in its fifth generation of an all-consuming passion for golf.
Where our love for golf is exemplified is in the oldest father-son invitational tournament in the country at the club we have called home for parts of nine decades – Winchester Country Club, seven miles north of Boston. The tournament, which is an alternate-shot test, dates to 1919 and my family made its first mark in 1938 when my grandfather, Judge Joseph Monahan, and father, Joe Monahan Jr., earned the first of their seven crowns.
Joe Monahan III – that would be me – had an inauspicious debut in his championship match, losing in an 18-hole playoff in 1961. But blessed with good partners – my sons, Jay, Brendan and Justin – I have been able to record 17 wins.
... to have three sons with immense character and beautiful families is all I could ever ask for; to have my oldest son grow up to be the PGA Tour commissioner is surreal ...
The flavor of the tournament includes a grandfather-grandson competition, which I played in from ages 8 to 21. My grandfather was the Chief Judge of the Probate Court in Middlesex County and had quite a presence about him. He was a deep thinker and a very talented athlete. He would refer to golf as the citadel of learning, which took me years to comprehend.
"The Judge," as he was known, was a player of high quality so he and I often won the grandfather-grandson. But when he would accept both silver cups, he kept his and usually gave mine away to another kid. "In my mind, you're also a winner," The Judge would tell the kid.
When I finally asked The Judge why he did this, he told me, "Oh, you're going to win many of these."
In addition to being a deep thinker, my grandfather was prescient. But I'm sure not even he knew how big I would win in life – to have three sons with immense character and beautiful families is all I could ever ask for; to have my oldest son grow up to be the PGA Tour commissioner is surreal, and when I played in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am alongside Jay a few years ago, we walked around knowing that Jay's grandfather had played in the 1947 U.S. Amateur there.
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