HOWARD WARD: Just Ramblin' and Musin' and Mumblin'
Just some random thoughts while waiting another eight minutes for the foursome in front of us to clear the green
Golfers in Moore County owe a huge debt to a few good men who have come to the rescue of the once-troubled Men's Amateur Championship.
It was only a few years ago that the tournament was in dire straits. No one seemed to care whether it was even held or not. Someone always seemed to step up at the last moment to do enough to keep it going, but participation was down to embarrassing numbers.
There were some years when it was difficult even to find out where and when it was being held.
Then along came a few guys who did care. Dick Wilson got involved. Bob Burwell got involved. Bob Klug, a former county champion himself, and one who kept fanning the few embers that were left, stayed involved.
They enlisted a few volunteers, changed the format from a disjointed match play event to 36 holes of flighted medal play, publicized the championship and opened it up to players from outside Moore County to make it more competitive.
To make it more than just a golf tournament, a union was formed with The First Tee of the Sandhills, that great organization for youngsters that is so capably operated by Executive Director Bill Baker.
The result? The tournament drew 128 players last weekend at Legacy Golf Links, forcing morning and afternoon shifts. And despite presenting gift certificates for the top three places in 12 flights as well as giving out prizes for closest-to-the-pin shots, the event raised more than $2,500 for The First Tee.
Example: Deane Hundley, a class act and a three-time Moore County champion during the 1970s, won the second flight in the super seniors division and immediately donated his gift certificate to the First Tee.
Is this good stuff or what?
You think we don't have some golf-loving people here in the Sandhills? Well, consider that on the Saturday when the Moore Amateur drew 128 players, there were so many golfers entered in the annual Moore Buddies Tournament at The Pit that they had to hold a double shotgun start.
They didn't add Bob Rigsby's name to the tournament title for no reason, either. This guy never lets go. I guarantee you that he's talking to somebody about next year's tournament right now.
One thing entrants in the Moore Buddies keep coming back for is the gift box. This thing is so loaded with goodies that you have to have help getting it to the car. Want to make the wife happy? Play in the Moore Buddies next year and take home a goodies box that will make her think Christmas has come early
The teammates you end up with in a scramble can be an adventure. Sometimes it's even a great experience. Being paired with James Maples, Rich Schmidt and Mary Davidson made my day. Shooting 12 under par was just icing
Maples is no longer a golf professional, but I'm willing to wager that there aren't many professional golfers who hit the ball farther. Want a guy on your team who can drive a par-4 green? Call James.
Warning: Playing with James Maples may make you feel just a tad inconsequential
The thing I enjoy most at a Moore Buddies event (other than the barbecue) is watching the kids. If this doesn't make you believe that even kids with so-called problems can be great, then you're missing the picture. Heck, if I could, I'd adopt 11-year-old Walter Bines
Did you get to watch any of the Solheim Cup last week? It was an inspirational weekend.
Does anyone else out there think Michelle Wie had her coming-out party in this event? The young lady was everything we all thought she was going to be before getting messed up mentally and physically by her misguided parents and a bunch of people interested in using her as their personal ATM.
Going 3-0-1 in this pressure-laden showcase has to make Wie feel she is still pretty special. Now, if the LPGA ever has another tournament, maybe we'll see her break through and win her first title.
Contact Howard Ward at 867-6493 or 690-2211 or by e-mail at
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