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Friday, April 11, 2014

Unique to the Game of Golf: A Competition Among Friends

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus & Gary Player, with Augusta
National Golf Club chairman Billy Payne, preparing, yet
again, to open the 2014 Masters Tournament with their
ceremonial tee shots.
We’ve always wanted to beat each other; we’ve never hidden that. When we did win, we congratulated the other. When we lost, we congratulated the other. 

Gary Player, on his lifelong relationship with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer

I've been fretting about the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association spring tournament.  Well, actually, I've been fretting about the pairings.  It's a team event and I'm still not entirely recovered from my shoulder surgery.  My swing's a bit stiff.  I tire easily.  I'm not going to make much of a partner.


I considered withdrawing, but it's the annual spring tournament and in addition to the symbolic importance of welcoming golf season -- Who's kidding who here?  This is South Carolina and golf is a year-round as well as a life-long sport -- Cathy's making Cherry YumYum.  It's hard to turn your back on both the spring tournament and Cherry YumYum.

So in a moment of competitive generosity I left voice mail for the tournament committee chair a couple of evenings ago.  Pair me with somebody who's not keen on winning.  I'm not going to be able to give much to the team, I requested.

What did they do?  They put me on the team with the club champion!

Why? So you wouldn't have to work so hard off the tee and you could concentrate on chipping and putting, Cheryl explained yesterday while we were golfing.  We thought you'd probably be able to play the full 18 that way.

There's competition and then there's competition in the Game of Golf, a unique, life-long competition where, win or lose, there's always another opportunity.