A 27.5 handicap - not Tiger - is the best golfer in the world
Only in the World Amateur Handicap Championships can a high-handicapper whose swing is fluid as a Tourette’s attack beat out nearly 4,000 other golfers to win a $650 prize and a trophy as big as the Stanley Cup.
I’ll admit, I never saw winner June Wang’s swing this week, but who among us lower-handicaps have witnessed a 27.5-handicap’s swing that didn’t cause instant indigestion?
The World Am isn’t really designed for us single-digit handicappers to win the overall crown. In the tournament’s 24-year history, a single-digit handicap has won the overall title only twice.
Even still, it’s a great time, despite the long rounds. As a golf writer, I can’t tell you how many times I play a round either by myself or with a couple of duffers who are so hideous at golf…they are perennial favorites in the World Am. So for me, the experience is rewarding because I’m paired with passionate golfers of like ability. In four rounds this week, I was the low score in my group, worst score and twice a middle score. Golf is all that more satisfying when you’re grouped with those as good and take the game as seriously as you. Let duffers like Wang shank it around together for four days. I’ll bet everyone in her flight wore helmets.
I spoke with tournament director Steve Mays at a rainy Dunes Club during the final round Sunday and he explained the lengths the World Am goes through to screen for sandbaggers, and they even DQ’d some suspicious players this week.
I am not going to outwardly accuse Ms. Wang as a sandbagger - even though she shot a final round 63 (net), four shots ahead of second. But I will reiterate what I said a few days ago: the only things a 20-plus handicap should be eligible to win are golf lessons and a ball retriever.
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A few years ago, I played in a match against a 12 handicap. I was 3 under and was closed out, 3 and 2.
Only takes once to learn your lesson.