Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 10, 2018

RESULTS FROM THE NCGA MID-AM FOUR BALL

Forgot to post the link

 

RESULTS

I’m involved in each of these three, I try to create memories for life when I can, I try to live each day to the fullest, and I do sometimes act like an idiot.

But on Tuesday I got to create a memory, and I enjoyed every second of the experience, knowing that its only a matter of time when this will all come to an end. I will address acting like an idiot later in this post.

But what I will remember most about winning the NCGA Mid-Am Four Ball, is doing it with my dearest friend Jason Anthony. It won’t have anything to do with how I played or even how he played, just being out there competing with a guy you love to be with is a royal treat. Perhaps I would feel a little different if he shot 95, but honestly I doubt it, as long as he tries as hard as I do on every shot. I laugh when I hear guys say, yeah I shot 66 on my own ball. Well yeah you shot 66 because you were able to be aggressive and hit shots at pins and putt with aggressive speeds. You can NEVER brag about what you shot, and its rude as hell to your partner.

Yes, I always want to be the one that helps the team as much as possible, but playing with Jason I ALWAYS know that he is going to do great things on the golf course during a round of golf. In this event, he was the star on the from nine (yesterday he made 5 birdies through the first 10 holes) and then I made 4 birdies on the last 8 holes. It was a blast, and I could not be any happier than the way we played and enjoyed ourselves and the guys we were paired with.

On day one, we played with my idol, Casey Boyns and his son Christopher. I had not played with Christopher before, and I was VERY impressed with every part of his game. He truly has the Boyns DNA running through his body. There are very few people as warm and friendly as Casey Boyns, but don’t mistake that kindness and easy going nature for anything less than a killer competitor when it comes to the game of golf. His new Ping driver had him outdriving all of us on many of the holes, especially #10 where into the wind on the 436 hole he had a sand wedge into the green at the age of 62 (I think). If you are ever lucky enough to play with Casey, you will never forget the experience of what a true gentleman and phenomenal golfer and competitor he is.

And YES I did finally tie my Idols record 16 NCGA Major wins, however I have done it with WAY more best ball victories (8) vs his I think 3-4. Which means I only have 8 individual titles to his over 12. And he’s won 2 California State Am titles to my 0. Hard to compare players and records, I am just proud as hell to be mentioned with him, and to now be a Hall of Fame with this incredible guy, and friend!

So what’s next, perhaps a show-down with Jason on Sunday in the Olympic Club Championship 36 hole final. But well before that I will need to win a Sat morning quarterfinal match and Semi final Sat afternoon match against some VERY good players. I’ll keep you posted on how that unfolds. In the meantime I am resting my body and thinking about my swing in slow motion. I play best when my body sync is slow with power only arriving at the very bottom of my swing. I still yip many putts while making a few with my eyes closed. I am a bit of a mess there, and hope to fix whatever wire is loose…lol

I was recently asked about what happened in the 2015 Senior Amateur at the amazing Royal County Downs when I was DQ after I had played only 2 holes. Since I tell it the way it happened, I won’t sugar coat this short version of what EXACTLY happened. So here we go!!

I was in Ireland for 2 weeks prior to the event with a good friend of mine preparing for the Senior Am. I did 2 very idiotic things before the event. First off I contacted my friends at Carr Travel and they arranged some comped golf for me at some amazing courses. One in particular was Waterville where I was greeted by the secretary and head pro with a course guide and was told that a single player was waiting for me at the 1st tee. After 5 or 6 holes just playing a casual round of golf the gentleman I was playing with said, wow Randy you are already 4 under par. I thought to myself what an odd thing to say to me in a casual round with zero pressure. I was out playing while my girlfriend at the time was waiting for me in the Clubhouse so I was hoping the round would move swiftly as we had a three hour drive afterwards to Ballybunion Golf Club.

On the 7th hole, I hit a decent drive on this unreachable par 5, and waited fairly impatiently while the group ahead seemed to take forever to move along. Once they reached the green I hit my second shot without even shooting the yardage I had (idiotic move on my part) that opened pandoras box, as my ball whistled through the green and right between an older gentleman legs on the putting green. To my horror and disbelief the older gentleman got in his cart and drove directly back at me. This was an OH SHIT I’m screwed moment. This older Irish gentleman was even more pissed when he saw it was an American that almost prematurely ended his life. He ripped me a new one for what seemed like an hour. I sheepishly made my birdie and didn’t really feel like playing anymore golf. But I proceeded and knew there was ZERO chance his group was going to let us play through. I guess I was now 5 under on the round, and finished the nine holes with a birdie on #9 to shoot 6 under par.

The tenth hole is a long par four, but playing downwind making it very short. After a wedge to 3 feet I was now 7 under and ready for the par 5 11th hole also playing downwind. After a drive and 9 iron to 5 feet, I thought why not make eagle here and go to 9 under after 11 holes, something I have never done before. When the putt dropped so started the raindrops. Seeing a huge squall of rain coming and 3 groups waiting on the 12th tee (a long par three) I informed my playing partner I was going in. He was SHOCKED, Randy how the hell can you go in now when you most likely will break the course record. My reply was simple, with the bad weather coming, perhaps I will wait this rain out and come out later and finish my round.

I now had 1000 yards to walk back to the club house against a 30mph wind and driving rain. It was amazed that I was the only one on the course heading back to shelter. Upon my arrival, I parked my buggy in the over-hang at the clubhouse and went looking for my girlfriend. After some delicious Fish and Chips we decided to hit the road early and get to Ballybunion at a decent hour for dinner. We headed to the car and began the long journey north (I think it was north). After about 2 hours I couldn’t keep my eyes open so decided to pull over and took a delightful 45 minute nap in the backseat all stretched out.

We then proceeded to about 5 minutes from Ballybunion when I started thinking why was I able to take a nap in the back seat when I was having my clubs always travel there. That’s when I realized like an Idiot I left them on the buggy in the breezeway at Waterville. I wasn’t about to call there, and ask, hey is anyone driving this way? So off we went back three hours to Waterville, when I arrived there my clubs were abandoned in the breezeway at about 7pm sitting there. I didn’t want anyone to know about my bonehead move, so I quickly grabbed the clubs and off we went back three hours to Ballybunion.

If I’m playing for fun, I am never going out in 30+ mph winds with sideways driving rain, thats what we had for two days straight at Ballybunion. I have yet to hit one shot at this amazing looking course, and hope to one day return to this part of Ireland for more golf memories. We headed back to Dublin where I met up with my good pal, and decided to take a drive to a very good course an hour outside of Dublin (sorry no memory of the name) but has a great day of golf, and again in high winds I had an under par round, and was excited for the start in a few days of the Senior Open at Royal County Downs. When we reached Dublin on the way back from golf I noticed I needed gas, so in we went to a gas station that are a little different than here in the States. I noticed the price seemed a little strange to me while I was pumping the gas. After about filling half the tank, to my horror I realized that I was filling the tank with Diesel gas, not regular. OMG I thought for sure this was a $5000 mistake and that I ruined the car. I almost called Hertz to ask them what I should do, knowing they would hit me with a huge penalty and problem.

After consulting with many people at the gas station we decided to try and drive the car and see if we could dilute the Diesel gas and keep adding regular to the tank. OMG what a nightmare, PLEASE don’t ever do this, as I made so many idiotic mistakes on this trip. After a few days of driving the sputtering car, it finally smoothed out and I felt comfortable to take it on the freeway heading to Royal County Downs.

We arrived a day early before the official practice days, and tried to see if I could play a practice round, The answer was a resounding NO, and I needed to play with a member and all the times were filled. I had communicated with a friend that was a member and he requested to the Caddy Master that I get a good and experienced caddy. I stopped by the caddy master headquarters to say hello, and he gruffly said he didn’t have me on his list, and that I would have to wait and see what he could find for me. I showed him the confirming email between him and my member friend, and he just didn’t seem to care at all.

So on practice day one, I was assigned a caddy that had NEVER candied before, and actually had never been on a golf course before. It was laughable how I needed to tell him where to stand, when not to talk, how to carry the clubs, twice he dumped the clubs out of the bag as he could never quite get the hang of the proper way to carry the clubs. Nice enough kid, but not suited to be learning while a player is preparing for a global amateur major. After the torturous round was over, I again asked the caddy master if anyone else would be available. His response I will never forget, he basically scolded me, and asked me what was wrong with the kid he provided. I didn’t want to throw the kid under the bus, so I said it was just his inexperience and that I didn’t want him to be a distraction to my fellow playing partners.

The mistake I made was not just pulling my own Trolly, I would have had to pay him anyways, and decided perhaps he had learned the basics of caddying going into the start of the tournament. However the weather forecast was miserable, and possibly could be the worst weather day of THE YEAR!!

I woke up to a hard driving wind, but yet no rain falling. When I tee’d off the wind was blowing so hard I could hardly stand up, and made a disappointing par on the opening par 5 hole. By the second tee the rain had started and it was coming down hard and sideways. When we reached the second green it needed to be squeegeed off before we could putt. Somehow I ran a 30 foot putt in for a birdie and was quite pleased.

Soon after I putted though the horn blew, and the round was suspended. The forecast was horrible, and with standing water already on the greens and in the bunkers it looked like a wash out day. But it was still early, and we walked back in while the rain came down in sheets. When I returned to the clubhouse I pointed to my hotel room, which was only a few hundreds yards from the first tee. I gave him my room number, mobile number and said to let me know when and if there was an announcement about restarting the round.

I went to my room and started blow drying my rain gear that was soaked, after a half hour I wanted to check for an update and called the Pro shop at Royal County Downs, and a woman answered and said that the round would commence 2.5 hours after 12:15. It was a bit confusing, so I said ok, that means we will restart at 14:45 and she said YES. I wasn’t that alarmed by this strange answer because it was still raining outside, and perhaps they saw an opening on the weather radar.

So I waited in my room with my girlfriend and at about 12:50 my phone rang, and a gentleman identified himself as a member of the R&A to inform me that I had been disqualified from the Championship, and that all the players that were on the course were back in position and already playing. OMG to say I was pissed was an understatement. I told the R&A official that I had called the Pro shop and gotten bad information, he said yes, others did as well, and they still showed up to double check. I then went over to the course to find out that my caddy left right after we came off the course and went to a movie with friends.

Later that day I got another call from the Tournament director apologizing for what had happened and offered me a tee time on Saturday to play the course gratis on the R&A. This was Wednesday and I was already packing my bags to save myself the embarrassment of being the other players, my many friends that were wondering why I was DQ. So we quickly left, and I was still in shock after having flown 5000 miles and taken two weeks to prepare for the event at one of my favorite courses in the world.

But the Topper came the next day when my cell phone rang, and the caddie master was on the line asking me why I hadn’t yet paid my Caddy. Talk about biting ones tongue, I calmly told this caddy master that the caddy he assigned me completely  disregarded everything I asked him to do, left the premises and didn’t return to the golf course. Came back the next day and complained as to why he didn’t get paid for the 2 holes he caddied. I then called the R&A and explained in more detail what happened with my caddy, and again they apologized for what had happened.

My thought the whole time was why didn’t they call me earlier before the restart, they had my room number and my mobile phone, they called me only when it was too late and I was disqualified. I asked them if Rory had been in his room about to miss a restart, would they have found him on time? Of course they would, and of course Rory has a team of people that make sure he needs to be at certain places at the right time. I’m not as good as Rory, and I do love playing in the R&A events.

I’m not sure the R&A learned anything from this experience, although they did write about it the next year when I was the 1st round leader at Fornby. I was determined to win at Fornby and make amends for my blunder at Royal County Downs. I don’t blame the R&A, or my numbskull caddy or even the caddy master. I blame myself, it was totally on me to make sure I was beck on time for the restart, despite any information I may have gotten from the pro shop.

A HUGE learning lesson, and at 59 I am still learning. I hope you all enjoyed the short version of my many blunders and idiotic mistakes I made on that trip. But in the end I am one of the luckiest people alive that get to chase my dream and passion of playing in events like the Senior Amateur where  I was runner up a few months ago at Royal Porthcawl, against the best Senior amateurs in the world (minus Jeff Wilson he wasn’t in the field and he should be playing on the PGA Champions tour anyways).

SO the journey continues and many still shake their heads at some of the situations I get myself into. But I can assure you one thing, I do all of this chasing my dream because it allows me to meet and befriend some of the most incredible people on this planet. Golf is a community of great people with high integrity and purpose and passion. I have been blessed by this sport, and will be forever grateful for taking up this amazing game many years ago.

But now life has changed, my usual ritual has always been to be excited to come home to my loving mom that would be waiting to hear about my adventure in each tournament, and to see if I brought back a medal or trophy. Yesterday for the first time I had no one to share the story of winning the NCGA gold medal with. It didn’t diminish the experience it just made today a day of reflection on what is most important in our lives, which is the people that we love, an that love us.

As usual this is the unedited version of this very long post. If you are passionate about golf, and enjoy my version of what I experience, please share this with others.

Remember to always be patient, and think twice about making any important decisions in life or on the course!!!

STAY TUNED!

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 8, 2018

I LOVE THIS GAME

There is no easy way to deal with the death of a family member, but in my being on the golf course has enabled me to better deal with just life in general.

Having not competed in many weeks, no practice, no gym work and a weakened spirit, I was not expecting much on Sunday in my 1st round match in the Olympic Club Championship. I was exempt from qualifying being the 2018 Olympic stroke play champion, keeping me out of the tough qualifier where about 70 very good players were vying for 14 match play spots.

As it usually works out, the one guy in the 9 for 5 playoff I did not want to play in the first round was John Jennison whom recently won the USGA Mid Am qualifier with a smooth 66 at PeachTree Country Club.

The only thing good about a long layoff is my body is not sore, the flip side of that is perhaps my body is out of sync. I wasn’t sure what to expect playing in perfect weather conditions on a VERY tough Olympic Lake course that had firm and speedy greens, with more than usual long rough. My match against John got off to a very eery similar start to when I played Derek Father when he hit the tree off the 1st tee and conceded the hole without me having to hit another shot. But with John I did need to play the hole and a par was good enough to go one up.

The second and sixth holes I won with a par and birdie to go 3 up, followed by a winning birdie on #7 by John. I regained my 3 up advantage on the 8th hole with a par, while losing it back on #9 with a bad bogey after only having a wedge left into the green. John made a solid birdie on #10, and it now was game on. On #11 John again made a great par after a rope hooked drive. On # 12 I was able to nail a birdie putt that got me back 2 up, followed by what may be one of the worst match play holes I’ve ever played. I hit a great six iron to a back right pin. John hit the right tree off the tee and had no shot at the pin. He left himself a 40 foot par putt. I was just on the back fringe, but decided to chip my shot to put some spin on it. The downhill shot was a lot faster than I anticipated and I knocked it 8 feet past the hole. John 2 putted for a bogey 4, leaving me a chance to go back 3 up with a par. My uphill par putt was hit with my eyes closed and I knocked it 2 feet past. Although I was kinda surprised that John didn’t give me the come backer. I took a little time on this 2 footer, and over it didn’t feel that comfortable. I pushed it and it lipped out to my utter disgust. But that is match play, crazy things happen.

I did bounce back nicely with a winning birdie on the tough 14th hole, and again on 15 had a makable birdie putt that was slick downhill. After two putts for a halve on the hole I went to the tough 16ht hole playing 609. After 3 perfect shots I was left with a straight 4 foot putt with no break for the win. And of course I had to add extra drama by missing this very easy putt. Before I hit the putt I did notice that John had already taken his hat off in anticipation of me making this very easy putt.

The 17th hole was filled with some drama as I hit a horrible 2nd shot going for the green in 2, and was left with a long bunker shot out of the left bunker to a middle left pin. By far the best shot of the day for me, my bunker shot almost went into the hole and rolled 3 feet away. After John missed his birdie putt the match was over. In the end I needed to play very solid golf under extreme pressure to beat a very good player.

The next day, today I was unsure how I would follow up this round at the OC with the first round today in the NCGA Mid Am four ball at Poppy Hills.

For how the day went, check out the link below.

RESULTS OF THE NCGA MID AM FOUR BALL 1ST ROUND

STAY TUNED FOR FINAL RESULTS

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | October 2, 2018

GOLF IS AN EXPENSIVE SPORT- THIS SHOULD HELP HSDT

THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES IN LIFE, SO YOU JUST TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT. IN THE PAST I RECOMMENDED TWO STOCK, LFVN AND IDWAF (WHICH HAS SINCE BEEN ACQUIRED) BOTH APPRECIATED OVER 400%.

I WRITE ABOUT THESE OPPORTUNITIES RARELY, AND ONLY TWICE. SO THIS IS IT FOLKS

HELIUS MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES I BELIEVE WILL APPRECIATE UP TO AND OVER 1000% DUE TO THEIR DEVICE THAT WILL EVENTUALLY HELP MILLIONS OF PEOPLE GLOBALLY. THE RESULTS IN THE TRIALS HAVE BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING.

SO THIS IS IT, HSDT IS AT A VERY ATTRACTIVE PRICE NOW, OR YOU CAN WAIT AND PAY $20 A SHARE IN A FEW MONTHS)))

STAY TUNED

 

Your Company

Helius Medical Technologies and HealthTech Connex Announce Alliance to Build Canadian Commercial Infrastructure

NEWTOWN, Pa., Oct. 02, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Helius Medical Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:HSDT) (TSX:HSM) (“Helius” or the “Company”), a neurotech company focused on neurological wellness, today announced that the Company has entered into an agreement with HealthTech Connex, Inc. (“HTC”) to develop and manage neuroplasticity clinics in Canada.

“We are excited to announce this strategic alliance with HealthTech Connex and look forward to establishing our commercial infrastructure in Canada,” said CEO Philippe Deschamps. “This new agreement with HTC will result in the formation of a new operating entity called Heuro Canada and is the first step towards our shared goal of giving hope to people with Traumatic Brain Injury by ensuring that our novel therapy will be accessible to Canadians once cleared by the regulatory authorities.”

“The agreement to establish Heuro Canada is an important step in establishing the commercial infrastructure for both the PoNS™ Treatment and the NeuroCatch™ Platform measurement in Canada,” said Kirk Fisher, CEO of HealthTech Connex. “Heuro Canada will establish two neuroplasticity clinics here in Canada, initially, as we consider future expansion.  We look forward to the possibility of expanding our commercial infrastructure through the newly formed Heuro Canada venture.”

Both the Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS™) device and the NeuroCatch™ Platform are currently investigational devices, not for sale in Canada or the US.  PoNS was submitted for review by Health Canada on September 27th, 2018 and the NeuroCatch™ Platform is planned to be submitted to Health Canada in Q1 of 2019.  Both technologies will be used in Heuro Canada neuroplasticity clinics only if and when those technologies are cleared for use in Canada by Health Canada. Subject to the foregoing, Heuro Canada is anticipated to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2018.

About Helius Medical Technologies, Inc.

Helius Medical Technologies is a neurotech company focused on neurological wellness. The Company’s purpose is to develop, license and acquire unique and non-invasive platform technologies that amplify the brain’s ability to heal itself. The Company’s first product in development is the Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS).  For more information, visit www.heliusmedical.com.

About the PoNS Device and PoNS Treatment

PoNS Treatment is the first and only tongue-delivered neuromodulation that combines stimulation of cranial nerves with physical and cognitive therapy to restore lost neurological function.  The Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator (PoNS) is an investigational, non-invasive, medical device that delivers stimulation to the cranial nerves.

The Company’s trials investigating the PoNS in traumatic brain injury are more fully discussed in the Company’s disclosure materials, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | September 25, 2018

YOU’LL WANT TO READ THIS!!

Just a reminder to all, I do not sell advertising, this is not a blog to make money in any way shape or form, this is my own personal way to communicate about GOLF mainly, and to share other important things with you.

A long time ago I posted “Golf is an expensive sport, this will help you make money to defray the cost” I gave you ID Watchdog at $0.08 a share. A year later Equifax acquired them for $.40 a share. The second recommendation I gave you a year ago was LifeVantage (LFVN) at $3.50 a share, it recently hit $13 a share.

This is NOT a stock picking site, I have been in the financial service business my whole career. Through golf I meet hundreds of high profile guys that all have ideas, companies and opportunities. I then weed through these opportunities to ONLY give you the ones that I like best. They must have these characteristics:

  1. I must know the management team, and have a very good feeling about their ability to manage and grow their business
  2. There must be a MAJOR event coming soon that makes the opportunity greatly underpriced
  3. I don’t like stocks that are correlated to the market (Beta of 1) I want to invest in companies that will perform well in up and down markets
  4. I must know the story and like the upside vs the risk, I want to stack all the odds in my favor
  5. The company must do something good for mankind
  6. The timing must be great, where the holding period to see a gain will be short
  7. I will always own a significant position myself, I never tout and don’t own

In conclusion the opportunity I am going to show you is one that moved me when I heard what the product did for a famous TV personality that at this time I cannot mention. He is a major owner of this company, and I sat with him and listened in amazement when I heard what his personal results were. Additionally one of my most respected friends that runs a hedge fund has this as his number one position and believes this will be the best performing stock he’ll ever own.

About 20 years ago I met Paul Stephens (Co-founder of Robertson-Stephens) after several rounds of golf with him he gave me a stock tip that he said was the best he’s ever had in his career, a company called Illumina San Diego based company. I did no research, and just bought it. I wasn’t patient and sold the stock after 6 months for a modest gain. After that the stock went up 100X, and I missed out on a MOON shot of a lifetime, where you could turn $10,000 into $1,000,000 in 5 years or less.

I’m not saying this opportunity will go up 100X BUT IT COULD!!!! I am thinking 10X is very reasonable based on Industry comps.

Do your own research, and once you see the potential this company has, you’ll want to own it and tell everyone you care about.

So here you go:

The company’s name is Helius Medical Technologies, INC symbol HSDT

these are the cliff notes on the company:

1)Pharmacology for Neurological disorders has basically failed.  While there are many approved drugs for symptom relief for MS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s their therapeutic benefits are minimal with a host of side effects.  All efforts aimed at TBI, Stroke, ALS, and Huntington’s have failed.
2)An electrical approach to brain disorders makes sense.  The emerging science of Neuorplasticity (the ability of the brain to change in response to external stimuli) is gaining credence.  The are 2 books written by Norman Doige, “The Brain that changes Itself” and “The Brain that Heals itself” that are a good read and explain the science.
Helius is emerging as a leader in the field of Neuromodulation (utilizing electrical stimuli to the brain to effect neuroplastic changes) with a deep and wide patent portfolio revolving around utilizing the oral cavity as a pathway to the brain.
3)Helius has submitted an application for 510k approval with the FDA for their PoNS device with a label for “balance and gait disorder associated with Traumatic Brain injury”.  The published data from their well controlled clinical trials is extremely compelling having achieved a 75% rate of responders with a clinically meaningful improvement in a group of patients that had previously exhausted physical therapy.  Approval is expected with 6 months.
4)The lead indication has an enormous addressable market which they intend to initially exploit by working in conjunction with large worker’s compensation organizations.  This addressable market alone is in the billions as a course of therapy with the PoNS device will go for around $30,000.
5)Future trials are planned with the aim of gaining label extensions in areas such as sleep, depression, anxiety and other symptoms arising from MS, Parkinson’s and stroke.
6)The PoNS device is classified by the FDA as a class2 device meaning that it is non-risk.  In clinical trials there have been zero adverse events and a marked decrease in other markers such as headache and number of falls.  This means that the hurdle for gaining additional labeling or approvals is relatively low.
7)The present market cap of $225mm seems very conservative relative to the revenue opportunity and low regulatory risk.
8)Additonall information is available on the company website via the link https://heliusmedical.com/index.php/about/overview and clicking thru to the investor tab.
NEXT UP MORE ON GOLF- SIDE SADDLE PUTTING AND GOLF SPECIFIC TRAINING
STAY TUNED AND SHARE THIS BLOG WITH A FRIEND IF ITS WORTHY
Posted by: randyhaaggolf | September 21, 2018

MY GREATEST LOSS

I sometimes battle myself as to how personal I want to go on this Blog. I’ve decided to share my most intimate thoughts and life experiences, especially those that alter how we think, feel and act.

Last week on Wednesday I was playing a practice round at the Crump Cup at Pine Valley, and as always thinking to myself that this is my most favorite place in the world. I believe this is shared by many of us that are privileged to play in this amazing event.

That evening I called back home to see how my mom was doing, as she has been battling cancer for a year. The caretaker told me she was not doing well, and that she had slipped the past few days. I was worried, but decided to play my first round at the Crump Cup on  Thursday morning. After a rough start (plus 3 after 5 holes) I got my act together on the back nine, and fired a solid 72.

Calling back home after my round, a family friend visiting my mom, told me that Hospice was coming to give my mom oxygen, an IV and some Morphine. My mom was unable to talk, hardly able to swallow, and breath. It was an easy decision to head to the airport to see her. I made a mistake by looking at Expedia and not going directly to the airline websites. There was still a non-stop flight that afternoon from Philly to SF that would have gotten me in at 7:00pm. Instead I raced off to the Newark airport for a 7:10 non-stop flight getting in at 9:30 pm. I made the flight, and when the plane took off, it suddenly stopped on the middle of the runway and returned to the terminal. Needing a new plane took 4 hours, and we finally arrived at 1:30 am into SFO.

I was terrified to check my phone, as I was scared that my mom didn’t make it. I was numb reading a text message from my brother that at 10:00 pm mom had passed away with only the caretaker by her side. Life is unfortunately having to deal with death of those we love most. My mom has been my biggest supporter, the reason I am the person I am today, and she gave me the opportunity to play golf. She was a very passionate person, a concert pianist, and loved music and teaching music.

Arriving back home where she was when I left, she was now gone, gone from the bed and room that she has been living in for over 60 years. It was a very strange and uncomfortable feeling. Friday morning is when the reality started to hit me, that my mom was gone forever. I had no intention or desire to play golf for awhile with the way I was feeling at that moment. But some time enables us to reflect on what we need to do going forward. One of the great things about my mom was she was always very positive and told me to “GO FOR IT” which made me think about what decision I needed to make about the USGA Four Ball qualifier on Monday at Sonoma Golf Club. I knew that the qualifying field was probably the strongest in the country, and that 50 teams were vying for 2 spots into the tournament next May at Bandon Dunes.

I have one of the greatest best ball partners in the world in Jason Anthony. He is mega talented, and seems to play his best golf when we are together. This year at the NCGA Four Ball at Spyglass Hill, he was as good as any tour player, and if I was able to help him a little more, we would have won that event.

Our track record in the USGA Four ball has been consistent, we either make it running away, or we end up in a playoff or miss by one shot. I felt it would be unfair to Jason to withdraw from the Monday qualifier as he then would be left out of the event that he was super looking forward to. Without much sleep, and being totally emotionally drained, I committed to Jason to give everything I had on Monday.

On Monday when I arrived, I felt listless and numb, and rather weak from the intense emotional drain. But I also knew that I have played some of my best golf when I have been emotionally and physically challenged. I am not sure why that is, perhaps we become less results oriented and just play loose with little expectation.

I’m not one that believes that someone after death is with them in spiritual way, well that is until I played the first three holes at Sonoma Golf Club last Wednesday. here’s what happened: After a solid tee shot down the middle, I had 122 left to a back right pin. Normally my max on my A wedge (50 degrees ) is 120 yards. I decided to hit the A wedge hard, and give it all I had. I felt a presence on my right shoulder that is very hard to explain. My shot went up like in slow motion, and drew a yard right to the hole, landed 2 inches directly in front of the cup, and somehow didn’t go in. I was left with an inside left putt from 4 feet. With Jason about 18 feet for birdie, I went first, and with eyes closed, made the 4 footer to get off to a good start.

The second hole was even more amazing. After a good drive on this uphill 530 yard par 5, I was left with 275 to the pin. The other player in my group was right with me and decided to wait, even though he said he couldn’t get there. He hit and ended up 30 yards short left in the bunker. My three metal shot came of better than I expected and drew right to the opening of the green and rolled to the middle of the green. I was shocked, I had no idea I could reach the front of the green, let alone get to the middle. Jason also hit it on the green about 40 feet away and made a solid two putts for birdie. My 20 footer had very little break in it, and I decided to hit it right edge. I hit another eyes closed putt and opened my eyes to see the ball half way heading on a perfect line and right into the cup for an eagle 3. I was a bit stunned, and again felt the presence of my mom there helping me.

The same thing occurred on the 3rd hole, after a good tee shot, I had 125 to a back right pin. There was a bank to the left of the pin that I decided to use as my target. My shot again looked eerily similar to the shot on the first hole, just dead at where I intended, it hit the slow and rolled down to the hole, lipped out and was hanging over the cup for a tap in birdie to start 3 3 3 and -4 for those opening holes.

Hole 4 was a 220 yard par three with a very small green. Jason hit first a great shot to 20 feet from the hole. My baby rescue shot was on a perfect line, but hit soft and did not carry up the slope to where the pin was. I did miss that birdie putt, and thought to myself that perhaps mom doesn’t want this to look too obvious that she was there helping me along. From that point on Jason was the one she looked after as Jason made 7 birdies from the 5th hole through the 18th hole. The two birdie putts he made on 16 and 18 got us to -11 for the qualifier, and not a shot to spare as three teams shot -10 62, and one team shot -13 59.

I am so happy for Jason, and that I was able to help him in the beginning of the round. I ultimately ran out of gas on the back, and it was all Jason Anthony. He is a great and loving friend, he is a great golfer and an even better human being. Our journey together now will extend beyond my 60th birthday which means while we are at Bandon Dunes he will have a 60 year old partner that knows it just a number and that we plan to give that field hell!!

And finally I tried my best in the NCGA Senior Amateur this week at Poppy Hills, but just couldn’t do it. The stakes were high, as a win would have edged me past Jeff Wilson for NCGA Player of the year, but honestly I just didn’t care about that. And I strongly believe that Jeff Wilson deserves to be the NCGA player of the year for what he accomplished this year by qualifying and being low amateur in the USGA Senior Open, and then winning the USGA Senior amateur after being medalist. I am not sure how you can do better than that. And I heartily congratulate Jeff on his amazing year.

Thank you for reading about my life, and how life just takes us constantly up and down. I  now have the challenge of missing someone everyday that was so important in my life. But after Monday, I know that she will always be with me. And to that end, I am very excited about life, and living it to the fullest as she would want.

Please stay tuned for perhaps the best stock tip you’ll ever get, seriously its up next!!

STAY TUNED

 

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