The Awkward Father-Son Masters Moment

I was ticked off when Kevin Stadler walked off the 18th hole of Augusta National Sunday and instead of embracing his father, golfer Craig Stadler, who was waiting just off the green, he sailed right past him, seemingly too upset that he'd bogeyed the 18 hole of the Masters.

Had Kevin parred it, he'd have finished in a tie for seventh. Instead, he finished in a tie for eighth. Big deal, right? To my judgmental eye, Kevin had blown it, in front of CBS' nationally televised audience. CBS obviously had expected something of a special father/son moment as its cameras followed Kevin and caught the awkward, wince-inducing blow off dad, who had finished his round earlier. It was the first time a father and son had played the Masters on the same year.

But when given the benefit of a little time, I'm usually far less judgmental than what my initial instinct might be.

Almost every time, I'm brought back to this point: How would I like it if my worst moment of the year, the month even the week, was caught on camera for others to see? 

I'd be embarrassed, that's how I'd feel. Every single week, I'd be devastated if me at my worst was suddenly broadcast to large, unforgiving, judgmental audience.

I don't know Kevin Stadler. I'd never heard of him before Sunday. I have met Craig Stadler a few times during the early 90s, when I covered the Masters for a few years. I remember the elder Stadler to be generous and kind. I imagine the apple didn't fall to far from the tree, but again, I don't know.

I do know that I won't look back at Kevin Stadler's 10 seconds of post-Masters fame with disgust anymore. Instead, I'll choose to offer grace. I know I'll be needing some in return any minute now.

Posted on April 16, 2014 .