I read a piece awhile back in which Tom Weiskopf, who is 67, said his goal nowadays is to shoot his age.
This is a man who won 16 times on the PGA Tour, including a British Open, and who was second four times in the Augusta Masters and once in the US Open. He also won the US Senior Open.
And he wants to shoot his age?
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We all do.
Of course, it's out of the question for young people, which is why my 14-year-old grandson Jake McGlone said a couple of years ago that he wanted to shoot my age. Not his, mine. Which, by the way, he now can, and he doesn't have to go real low to do it.
It's not until you're in your 60s that shooting your age becomes a reasonable possibility and then only if you can play like your daddy was Ben Hogan and your momma was Babe Zaharias. If you're a good player, you have a real shot at it in your 70s and 80s and from then on, if you're still out there flailing away, it depends a lot on the ol' joints. A few years ago, a man named Ed Ervasti, 93 years old at the time, shot 72. I want some of whatever he was taking.
That 93 at 72 is pretty good but the record, as far as we know, is 59, shot by an Indiana pro named Bob Hamilton when he was 59. If you're old enough, you may recall that Hamilton won the old Charlotte Open.
Some people shoot their age routinely. Sam Snead, who sustained his golfing excellence longer than anyone, was one of them. He didn't just shoot his age, he blew it away. Joe Cheves, the late pro at Mimosa Hills in Morganton, wasn't having a good day if he didn't whack half a dozen strokes or more off his age.
That's one of the good things about golf. You never run out of challenges. Weiskopf isn't going to win any more tournaments, doesn't even try, but he still has something to shoot for.
Shooting your age is not like winning the city amateur or the state open. There's no trophy, no prize money, but there is a sense of satisfaction. Plus people will slap you on the back and buy you a beer and kid you about your handicap.
It's a kind of consolation prize, an affirmation that you may not have won the battle against encroaching age but you've given it a good argument.
I read somewhere that someone had shot his age more than 2,600 times. All I can say is, he didn't spend much time at the office. Most golfers probably don't play 2,600 rounds in a lifetime.
The great comedian Bob Hope once said, "I'll shoot my age if I have to live to 105."
A Canadian, Arthur Thompson, beat that by two years. He shot his age when he was 103.