EDMOND — Bob Tway could have played in the FedEx Cup Playoffs at The Barclays in 2008.
He could have gone head-to-head with the best golfers in the world, tried for one of his last shots at glory on the PGA Tour.
Instead, he spent that week caddying for his son, Kevin Tway, at the U.S. Amateur Championship.
“That was what was important to me,” Bob Tway said.
He decided a few years earlier, when Kevin started his career at Oklahoma State, that he would be there as often as possible — even if that meant missing out on some of his own golf.
Bob Tway had already made his money in the sport, more than $14 million. He had already played his share, 28 years on the PGA Tour.
Bob, now 55, is continuing his career on the Champions Tour while Kevin enters the pro world himself. In fact, Kevin Tway is in contention this weekend at the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Ill.
That makes the Tways highlights on a growing list of Champions Tour golfers with sons also playing professionally.
At the U.S. Senior Open in Edmond, there are at least five fathers with sons who play professionally. Several others have sons playing in college or amateurs. Many have their sons caddying.
Family tradition isn’t seen to quite that level in any other major sport. The reason?
Golf might be the ultimate father-son game.
“I don’t know if it’s just for a father and son, but golf relates to everybody,” Bob Tway said. “Once you get a passion for golf, it stays with you forever. The good thing is you can be a different ability level and still go out and participate together, whereas if you have a bad player in tennis playing a good player in tennis, it’s no fun for either one.”
Jay Haas — who withdrew from the U.S. Senior Open with a back injury but is second on the Champions Tour money list — is part of one of golf’s greatest family dynasties.
His uncle, Bob Goalby, won the 1968 Masters and taught Jay and his brother, Jerry, the game. Both brothers went on to long pro careers, and Jay’s son, Bill, now has five PGA Tour wins.
“I don’t think it’s a dream come true because I couldn’t have dreamed anything quite like it,” Jay Haas said. “It’s just so tough to get out on the PGA Tour that the chances of another person from the same family is pretty remote.”
Jay Haas said he didn’t force the game on his sons, but with him being a pro golfer, it came naturally. The same goes for Olin Browne, whose son, Olin Jr., is on the Web.com Tour.
“We just always played together,” Olin Browne said. “He loves the game and it’s been a natural progression for him. It came easy.”
But that family tradition doesn’t only apply to the pros. Fathers and sons all over the world play golf together, and it’s the one sport where age is rarely a barrier.
“If (Bill) was a basketball player and I had played in the NBA, at 60, I couldn’t play with him,” Jay Haas said. “With golf, you don’t have to worry about passing somebody the ball or blocking for him or chasing him. You play the golf ball against the golf course.”
Further proof: former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden — who is now with the Dallas Cowboys — took up golf six years ago and quickly became an avid golfer.
He and his wife, Melanie, had their first child a little more than a week ago. Weeden said at a junior golf exhibition Wednesday at Oak Tree National that he got his new son a set of clubs while Melanie was about 15 weeks pregnant.
“He’ll soon be in the golf cart with me,” Weeden said. “I’m not going to push him, I won’t be that dad, but I’m going to strongly encourage he plays golf.”
So no, it’s not just the pros who pass the game on to their sons. But the reason average joes and NFL quarterbacks and PGA Tour stars alike make golf a family affair is often the same.
“You spend a lot of time communicating, talking,” Weeden said. “You’re getting to know that person. They shut (Oak Tree National) down as far as golf carts two weeks ago, and some of the most enjoyable rounds I had out here were walking with the guys I normally play with because we were talking more, joking, having a good time.
“To do that with your son, to me, is even more special.”
Bob Tway even said the best rounds with his son don’t involve competition.
‘The most enjoyable thing about it is when we’re home, we get to play golf every day together,” he said.
And golf, like family, can last a lifetime.
“Hopefully I’ll still be around at 80 and we can still play and his kid can play,” Jay Haas said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, what your name is, how big you are, how strong you are — if you can play, you can play. I think that’s the difference that brings people together in golf.”