Tom Gaffney wanted to be inside the ropes this week.
The Hilton Head Island resident had caddied for his son, Brian, twice before in the PGA Championship and was ready to tote Brian's Titleist bag again this week. But the 73-year-old, who suffered a heart attack in 2011, walked Kiawah Island's Ocean Course as a spectator the past two days.
Brian, a club professional from New Jersey, didn't want to worry about his dad's health and have it be a distraction. This was his fourth major championship. The novelty was gone.
He wanted to make the cut.
The dream blew away early Friday. Wind whipped pants legs and flags. Two perfectly good approach shots on Nos. 2 and 3 landed on the green and bounded over -- double bogey, bogey. An 85 for the second round left Brian 17-over par for the championship.
Tom walked the course with Brian's wife, Allison, and Brian's brother, Tim. When the course finally turned back toward the clubhouse, Brian found some relief. A par save on No. 15 helped stall the slide.
"Those have been few and far between today," Tom said, leaning on his umbrella. "Poor guy."
The 41-year-old qualified for the U.S. Open this year at Olympic Club, where he held his game together the first day before missing the cut. He missed cuts at PGA Championships in 2000 and 2009, both times with his dad on the bag.
He shot 4-over 76 on Thursday under ideal conditions. When the Ocean Course turned nasty, so did Brian's scorecard. He lost count of his setbacks, studying his scorecard only after putting out on 18.
"I didn't even know how many over par I was, I was so far over par," Brian said. "I think I counted four sixes and a seven. I'm like, 'Who does that?' "
After a double bogey on No. 12 during the worst of Friday's conditions, he trudged the sandy path to the 13th tee, striped his tee shot and marched head-up to his ball with a Gatorade. After a point, there was no use sulking.
He bounced his approach on the difficult par-3 No. 14th under the hole, but three-putted for a bogey. He closed with four pars, his family cheering each solid shot.
"There's a certain point where you know you're going to miss the cut, then you're just miserable," Brian said. "Then you're beyond miserable, where you say, 'I might as well pretend to enjoy this a little bit.' I hit some good shots. When I hit it pretty well, I can certainly keep up."
Brian wasn't supposed to be the golf professional. He wanted to race cars, like his dad.
Tim, six years older than his brother, wanted to be a professional golfer. He raced cars instead, an obsession molded from a racing school session given as a college graduation gift.
Tim raced for more than a decade and still competes in his free time, including races on nearby Hutchinson Island. The family keeps cars in Tom's eight-car garage in his Long Cove home.
Hilton Head was the site of a recent family reunion. Allison's parents live in Bluffton.
Brian's family plans to return to Hilton Head for the winter. But he didn't make the reunion. He was focused on the golf.