ATLANTA, GEORGIA | I’m waving the wet, white towel on hot-weather golf.
It’s not exactly breaking news that this summer has been miserably hot in many places and, though September is just a few days away, summer seems intent on staying around for a while.
But there comes a point, usually when the heat index reads like the numbers for a classic-rock station – 99.7, for example – when the fun of playing golf melts away.
Three words can sum it up:
Atlanta in August.
That’s where the PGA Tour season culminated with the Tour Championship during a week when even the most seasoned, bless-your-heart Southerner could be heard begging for mercurial mercy. It was a sweat-stained reminder of why the South didn’t become what it is today until air conditioning arrived and expanded like kudzu across the region.
Atlanta wasn’t a one-off. Two weeks earlier, Memphis, Tennessee, was on a slow boil throughout the first playoff event. Although one week later in Chicago offered a respite from the warmth, the final round at Olympia Fields was nearly as hot as winner Viktor Hovland.
It’s summer. It’s supposed to be hot in most of the lower 48. It always has been this time of year.
Picture Lucas Glover plunging his gloveless hands into coolers of icy water earlier this month in Memphis, fooling them into not sweating for a few minutes.
There comes a point when enough is enough. At mid-afternoon Tuesday at East Lake Golf Club, normally a busy workday for tour players, the practice tee was as empty as political promises. Like dog walkers in many neighborhoods, most of their work was done before lunchtime.
Even eating isn’t much fun.
“It's hard to eat,” Xander Schauffele said when asked about consumption on the course when the heat index approaches a number you might set on your oven. “Everyone hates eating.”
Talking about the unrelenting heat in places this summer, a friend said that golf is best played in sweater weather.
It sounds like a sweet dream these dog days.
Ron Green Jr.
Jon Rahm at the FedExSt. Jude Championship
KEYUR KHAMAR, PGA TOUR VIA GETTY IMAGES