I grew up in poverty on the edge of a golf course. I saw how people lived on the other side of the tracks, the upper crust and the WASPs at the country club. We had chickens and pigs in our yards. We butchered every year. I'll never forget those things.
I don't think that golf has a place for two sets of rules. I think one of the reasons that the game has progressed in the way that it has over the years is the fact that the amateurs and the pros all play the same game, and they play under the same set of rules.
I started flying because I had a fear of it early on. I figured if I learned to fly, I would understand better what was happening and started taking lessons in the late 1950's, once I had made some money on tour.
It is not a dreamlike state, but the somehow insulated state, that a great musician achieves in a great performance. He's aware of where he is and what he's doing, but his mind is on the playing of the instrument with an internal sense of rightness.
As a kid growing up in Latrobe, PA, I could dream about being an Olympian like Jesse Owens or Johnny Weissmuller. I could also dream about being a great golfer like Bobby Jones or Byron Nelson. But the idea of being an Olympic golfer never occurred to me.
My grandson Sam Saunders has been playing golf since he could hold a club and I spent a lot of time with him over the years. Like my father taught me, I showed him the fundamentals of the game and helped him make adjustments as he and his game matured over the years.
I find myself getting associated with a lot of younger people in the game. I still enjoy playing with them, and I think they still enjoy playing with me. As long as I can stay competitive and have fun doing what I'm doing, I guess I'll keep doing it.
I'm not much for sitting around and thinking about the past or talking about the past. What does that accomplish? If I can give young people something to think about, like the future, that's a better use of my time.
I can remember back to my early tour days when some fellows didn't think I'd last too long. Nothing physical - they said it was my swing. Some said it was too much of a 'muscle swing' to stand the test of time. One fellow predicted I wouldn't get past 30 out there.
I've stated my position, and that is we do not need a contraption to play the game of golf. I would hope that we'd play under one set of rules, and those rules would include a ban on the long putter hooked to the body in some way, shape or form.
Ever since I bought and started flying an airplane, it's been almost exclusively for business. I love to fly. It's a great joy to me. But rarely do I use it for any kind of pleasure, other than it is a pleasure to fly.
Golf challenges you mentally at any age, and when you become my age, it's a challenge physically to try to make your game work as well as it ever did. That's close to impossible, but that doesn't keep you from trying to hit the ball where you used to hit it and make the putts you used to make all the time.
Critics who have said a safer shot here or there would undoubtedly have won me a few more tournaments are probably correct. Going for the green in two was who I was as a boy - and it's who I remain as a man.
Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.
I'm sorry that I haven't won the PGA Championship. That would be something that would have pleased me very much. I suppose when I look back, I have a lot of reasons and excuses for not having won the PGA.
To me, wearing glasses is no pleasure, but once I conceded that I simply couldn't properly judge distance without them, I began to experiment. I tried glasses and found them uncomfortable. I switched to contact lenses, and they also bothered me.
Look at the better players of my era - Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd. They had pros they worked with from time to time, but out on Tour, thousands of miles from home, each of them learned to be his own best coach. I think Tiger can do the same.
As my father taught me, and he drove home that point, he said, 'Just remember something. You don't need to tell anybody how good you are. You show them how good you are.' And he drove that home with me. So I learned early not to brag about how good I was or what I could do but let my game take that away and show them that I could play well enough.