Son, sorry I can’t make your wedding, I’m playing in the U.S. Open |

Son, sorry I can’t make your wedding, I’m playing in the U.S. Open

Column by Steve Yingling

Planning a wedding is taxing enough without trying to squeeze in a trip to the U.S. Open that same weekend.

But caddie Ken Peyreferry Jr. pulled it off with some unwanted help from his dad, a favorable airline schedule and an understanding wife to be.

When Ken Peyreferry Jr. and Pam Wilson of Marlton, N.J., scheduled their wedding for Saturday, June 22, they must have inspired Ken Peyreferry Sr. You see, Ken Sr. had never qualified for the U.S. Open and at 49 years old the Little Mill Country Club head professional seemed like a better fit for the Senior PGA Tour.

But perseverance has a way of paying off. Ken Sr. sent the Peyreferry and Wilson households into the spin cycle as he unpredictably made it through local and sectional qualifying in May and the early part of June.

“Trust me, there’s gonna be many, many, many parties at home for what we all went through to get here. No matter what, everybody is very pleased just for the opportunity to make it here,” said Ken Jr. following the second round of the Open on Friday.

Convincing his fiance to let him accompany his father to the Open wasn’t Ken Jr.’s problem; it was persuading her to remain at home.

“At one point, it was a no way. Then about three days later, it was ‘I want to come along.’ So it was one of those deals where it wasn’t a conflict with her, it was a big to-do for everybody else,” Ken Jr. said.

When the Peyreferrys arrived at the Olympic Club, the small-town club professionals learned how the big-time media works. Afterward, Ken Sr. thought it might have affected his play.

“A lot of time with you guys maybe put some different thoughts in my head. The fact that it got so well reported, had I come out here with nobody even knowing I’m here, things may have been different. My phone has been ringing all night at the hotel and everybody wants me for an interview. There’s a whole bunch of maybes,” Ken Sr. said.

If all went according to plan, Ken Jr. would have left his dad in San Francisco late Friday night and returned to marry his sweetheart in Medford, N.J., Saturday afternoon.

But there was one hitch.

Ken Sr. missed the cut by 12 shots.

“I wasn’t worried about him missing the wedding. By all means, I wanted him to be there, but I absolutely would want him here if the chance was there,” said Ken Jr., as the golfer in him swept away his family bond. “But I guess things have a working out when you can’t be in two places at once. And I’m sure he would have hoped that he’d been here and not back in New Jersey.”

One thing about Ken Jr., he sure knows his father.

“I would have stayed and he would have wanted me to say. We’ve spent enough time together that he would have wanted me to stay,” said Ken Sr., who would have turned his son’s bag over to an Olympic Club member.

But Ken Sr., your son only gets married once if all goes well.

“It’s his day, so I’ll probably sit in the back and hide,” Ken Sr. said. “The notoriety was great for my son. I wish it just didn’t have 159 (19-over par) next to the notoriety. Whether that put pressure on me, I don’t know. My son thought it did. He said, ‘You tried too hard. Just get up there and hit it.’ I did, but I hit it six inches in the rough all the time.

“I didn’t hit that many bad shots. I just kind of hit the wrong ones at the right time. Around here, you can make the same if you hit it sideways as you do if you hit it good and get the wrong bounce.”

In fact, when Ken Sr. saw his first glimpse at the Olympic Club, there was no doubt in his mind that he’d have to watch the video of his son’s wedding.

“As good as I drive the ball, the first time I saw the wide fairways here, I thought I’d have no problem. But one thing I thought might be a problem is that I drive the ball too straight. All the sloped halls all slope downwind. You drive it perfectly straight and a lot of good drives were running through to the other side. You do need to work the ball more here than I know how to work it.”

For a man who was flying back home to watch his son get married, Ken Sr. wasn’t a very happy man. His Open dream had been delayed so long, he’d forgotten to fine-tune it. And it undoubtedly let his son know how he stood against his dad’s love for golf.

But there’s always the next Open, isn’t there Ken?

“I’m foolish enough to probably say yes to trying again. I know I can play better than I played,” he said.

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