Pinehurst with Papa
I'm so bad about remembering years and specific details, but I'm thinking this takes place in the summer of 1995. That would have been after I had completed my freshman year at A&M. As a member of the golf team, I was expected to keep up my game during the summers by competing in tournaments. For the most part, I picked tournaments that were within driving distance. However, there was a tournament called The East/West that was being held at Pinehurst Golf Club in North Carolina. Pinehurst has to be on an avid golfer's 'Top-Ten List' of courses to play in a lifetime. The course is rich in history, beautiful to the eye, and uber-challenging to the short game.
The East/West was different from collegiate tournaments in several ways. First of all, we were allowed to use a caddy. Also, the format was stroke play followed by match play. Quick lesson: Stroke play is conventional golf scoring, where you hear people say what number they shot- like a 78 on a par 72. Match play is one player versus their opponent. You win the hole, you get a point. I win the hole, I get a point. We tie the hole, we each get a half of a point. Whoever has the most points after 18 holes wins. If its tied, go back to hole number one and play until someone wins a hole. Being a fierce competitor, I LOVED match play. If you put me up against someone and challenge me to beat them, I'm all over that!
Back to the caddy part. My dad eagerly volunteered to come with me to NC to be my caddy for this tournament. Now, did he want to be with me, or did he just want to get in a round at Pinehurst? You guessed it- both!! I'll never forget him buying these retro Nike tennis shoes to be my caddy- like the ones Forrest Gump wore! I'm not a fashion Nazi, but he cracked me up in these shoes!
Stroke play didn't go so well, but I did well enough to make the cut. That means I got to advance to match play. It's seeded like you would expect: if there's 32 in the field, #1 goes against #32, #2 against #31, #3 against #30, etc. In my most humble assessment, I rocked out match play. I don't remember those exact details, but I think I lost out in the quarterfinals. I lost to the NCAA runner-up on the 19th hole --Kelly McCall, and she was a Tar Heel!
My parents both gave me incredible support during all of my golfing years. I'm pretty sure my mom kept score at every tournament I played since I was 8 years old, and she kept scorecards and newspaper clippings for a scrapbook! One or the other of them was present at every tournament I ever played until I got to college. They actually made it to a lot of those too, which were frequently out of state. I have a ton of memories about golf, but this one about going to Pinehurst with my dad is vivid in my mind and makes me smile! By the way, Dad did get to play Pinehurst, too!