I wrote the following seven paragraphs for the editor’s note in the January issue of D Magazine. I’ve got an update for you. But first, the copy as we printed it:
One of my friends on staff here asked me what I planned to do in 2022. We were talking about this month’s cover story, “52 Things to Do in Dallas.” (It’s online right now, by the way.) This was in early December. I said, “There’s only one thing I know with certainty that I’m doing in 2022. I’m playing golf on New Year’s Day.”
I don’t remember when the tradition started, but one year I decided to keep my powder dry on New Year’s Eve and get up early the next morning to be the first person on the course. My preferred neighborhood track is Tenison Highlands. It was bitterly cold that year, and I couldn’t muster any interest from my usual playing partners, so I teed off alone at daybreak, bundled up in a down jacket. It turned out to be one of the best rounds of my life, but not because of the score.
With the entire course to myself, I walked at a brisk pace (carts are for the infirm), didn’t get wound up over bad shots, and played music way louder than would have been polite under normal conditions. Ambling down the dew-wet, brown fairway of No. 4, I sang along to U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Apartments line the left side of that hole. I wondered what their bleary-eyed residents were thinking when they pulled back their curtains to spot a deranged Bono in a puffy coat looking as if he couldn’t decide between a 9-iron or a pair of ski poles. The more I sang, the better I played.
For reasons that have been lost to time and the frozen tundra, we decided to play the 17th hole, a par 3, shirtless. In subsequent years, more friends joined, more silly rituals added.
Not until after the round did I appreciate what a wonderful way it was to start the new year: up early, first off, no one to impede your progress, and three hours to take stock with a clear head of the just-completed trip around the sun. The New Year’s Day early morning round of golf became A Thing.
And then, as these things sometimes do, it got weird. After doing it a few years, I told a friend about my tradition. He invited himself along. For reasons that have been lost to time and the frozen tundra, we decided to play the 17th hole, a par 3, shirtless. In subsequent years, more friends joined, and silly rituals multiplied. The Rogers Invitational was born. Actually, I just now, right here, came up with that name.
So that’s what I’m doing in 2022. My son says he intends to make his inaugural run at the Rogers Invitational. He’s 22 and moved out of the house this year. First real job, first lease without my signature on it. We’ll see if he makes it for his tee time. Powder management is a skill he’s still learning. Either way, his young career and our maturing relationship will occupy some of my thoughts between swings.
I hope your new year gets off to a similarly productive start. Remember to keep your head down and to finish with your belt buckle pointed at the target. And sing with all your heart.
Hi, it’s your old friend Tim. I’m back, typing to you from 2022. So the first thing: my boy didn’t make it. I was surprised that he’d even thought about playing in the Rogers Invitational. To his credit, he didn’t no-show. A week before the event, he came to his senses and said there was no way he could be out of bed that early on New Year’s Day. Discretion is the better part of valor. Especially when you know you’re going to get your powder wet with a bunch of White Claw.
Anyway, turns out that some other clowns got the first tee time at Tenison Highlands this year. The weather was nicer than it’s been in years on NYD, so the course was busier than normal. You know what, though? My group was early, and the clowns were about five minutes late, so we jumped ahead and teed off first.
Bam. 2022. Boss move.
The other big development in this year’s Rogers Invitational is that I introduced a new wrinkle—literally. At a thrift shop in the waning days of 2021 I found a sweet Jos. A. Bank blue blazer with gold metal buttons. Whoever carded the lowest score on each hole had to wear the blazer for the duration of the ensuing hole. It didn’t have a size number on it anywhere, but I’m guessing the blazer was a 42R. I’m basing that guess on the fact that the blazer fit me. Two players at the Rogers Invitational this year were about 44L. That guess is based on the fact that they looked terribly uncomfortable in the blazer. Each time the blazer moved, we held a brief ceremony to mark the occasion. It was beautiful.
Fancy Dan won the tournament. Only he could tell you what his score was. In any case, Fancy Dan’s name will be embroidered on the blazer, which is quite an honor. Future victors will have their names stitched below his. I’m sure at some point the pro shop at Tenison will request that they can display the blazer behind framed glass when it is not in use. We’ll see if the parties can come to an agreement. We might need an unlimited supply of Bud Limes, just to pick a starting point for negotiations.
So yeah. The year started off really well. I hope you enjoyed that story. And I hope you’ll enjoy the “52 Things to Do in Dallas” feature that we put online today.