This movie replays each and every August, pandemic or not.
A grizzled mid-amateur veteran arrives at the U.S. Amateur. He surveys the field, mostly composed of wide-eyed teenagers for whom no par-5 is unreachable and no flag is un-hunt-able. None of them have bills to be paid, and none have school-aged children to worry about in the COVID-19 era.
And then for a moment, Aleve stashed securely in his golf bag, the mid-amateur finds his youthful footing and stymies Father Time.
Such was the case last week in Oregon for 2014 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Scott Harvey.
Playing competitively for the first time in a year, Harvey, 42 years young, scorched the original Bandon Dunes course on Tuesday with a 5-under-par 67 to move up to T7 in the stroke-play portion of the championship.
Harvey drew strength from teaming with Todd Mitchell last May at Bandon to win the 2019 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball.
“I came out here and had no expectations, ” Harvey said, “and honestly just had no idea how I was going to react to just being (in competitive mode). But I guess golf is golf, right?
“And I've got some good vibes around this place. Just kind of kept feeding off those memories. Honestly, I would have been thrilled with even par because this course is hard.”
Harvey faced Notre Dame rising senior Davis Chatfield in the round of 64, but the positive vibes were gone. Chatfield eagled the third hole and never trailed, winning by a 1-up margin to send Harvey home to Greensboro, North Carolina.
Harvey acknowledged that, had he not been exempt, he would not have been at Bandon Dunes. This appearance may well have been his last in the U.S. Amateur, although he didn’t rule out trying to qualify if the championship returns to Pinehurst in the near future. His future lies on the mid-amateur circuit and playing competitively in the Carolinas.
“When I am on my game, I feel like I can play with just about anyone, ” he said. “But I’ve got more important things at home to be concerned about.”
Those “things” include the joyful task of teaching the game to his young son, Cameron, just as his father, Bill, did with him. Bill Harvey made 23 USGA appearances and was a standout player in his time. He passed the game on to his son, and now Scott will do the same.
“I have just as much fun watching him hit balls on the driving range as I do coming out here and doing this,” he said.
Perhaps young Cameron will become one of those wide-eyed teenagers at a future U.S. Amateur. Maybe that would inspire Dad to attempt to qualify once again, to join his son in pursuit of the Havemeyer Trophy.
Such is the circle of life in golf.