In another aberration, I am thrown back together with my old friend Don Snyder for the last round. Also playing with us at Myrtle West Golf Club is 54-year-old Dennis Worrell, a retired Navy officer who provides you with his recent medical history while he shakes your hand: "Had a stroke last May. I've got blood clots all up and down my left leg. But some things are important."
To supplement the blood thinners he must take, Worrell indulges in the odd can of lager, which quickly endears him to Snyder. In the clubhouse at the turn, he puts Snyder's cooler on the bar and says, "Give me as much beer as this thing'll hold."
Before we play the 18th, Worrell approaches the rest of us and says, "If I drop dead on this hole, I just wanted to say: This, today—it's what it's all about."
All of us par the hole.
His tournament victory secure, Dennis Connors reflects on the day's darkest moment. Off the tee of number 13 at the Dunes Club, the other players in his group put six balls in the water. One of his playing partners, David Lesco, took a 16 on the hole. Asked to spell his name, Lesco says, "Sure: E-l-m-e-r F-u-d-d."
Recounting that grim hole for a television reporter during the trophy presentation, Connors says, "My jeans tightened up very tight." With such a low handicap, Connors says, he never thought about winning the tournament. "I just figured I was out there to have fun."
If fun had been the measurement, I may not have won my flight, but I wouldn't have come so close to ending up DFL, either.