“What’s your handicap?” It’s the first question you’re likely to hear when you tell people you play golf. Most of us carry vanity handicaps, a few strokes better than what we’d really own if we putted everything out and never took mulligans. Your GHIN index is supposed to be your passport into the world of “official” golf, but not everyone abides by its rules. Remember the exchange between Judge Smails (Ted Knight) and Ty (Chevy Chase) in CaddyShack?
Judge Smails: Ty, what did you shoot today?
Ty Webb: Oh, judge, I don't keep score.
Judge Smails: Then how do you measure yourself with other golfers?
Ty Webb: By height.
Bobby Perkinson, a 74-year-old retiree from the Federal Aviation Administration, takes his handicap very seriously. The 4.4-handicapper from Alcoa, Tenn., outlasted 3,100 golfers from 68 flights to win the Golf.com World Amateur Handicap Championship, which concluded Friday at the TPC Myrtle Beach, a Tom Fazio design in Murrells Inlet, S.C. Perkinson, whose 4.4 handicap is the lowest for a World Am winner since Dennis Connor (3) took the crown in 1995, shot a net 69 (gross 74) to win the championship by one shot.
“I did shoot a little below my handicap this year,” said Perkinson. “But I’m still surprised to win today with a net 69.”
Last year he was leading his flight in the fourth round until a triple bogey on the last hole. This year he advanced out of flight play into the 18-hole playoff after one of his playing partners made a double bogey on the last hole to give him the Super Seniors (70-year-old plus) flight by one shot.
“I got to doing a little counting in my head and figured that the guy that I was playing with was one stroke ahead of me, so I was trying my best to get a birdie. But it just so happened that on the last hole he made a double bogey.”
Between rounds, Perkinson and his wife, Wanda, spent their afternoons at the 19th hole, the nightly after party that convened at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. “We have met some really great folks in these three years of coming here,” Perkinson says, “so much so that when you’re on the golf course you’re trying to shoot a good score, but you’re really just trying to enjoy yourself with your new friends.”
Before Perkinson and his wife got on the road for the drive back to Alcoa, they stopped at a Myrtle Beach restaurant to celebrate over dinner and cocktails. “I am flat worn out,” said Perkinson, who has already received calls of congratulations from friends. He says he looks forward to getting back to his regular weekly matches at the Green Meadow C.C. in Alcoa, where he worked for a while as the general manager after the leaving the FAA.
“I had to move up a tee box to stay competitive with my group,” he says sheepishly, “I hope the World Am doesn’t change their mind about that.”(Photo: Erick W. Rasco/SI)