How? Why? We’re all about the same age, but he was stronger and in better shape than most, particularly me. He’d been an athlete, teacher and coach. When it came to golf, he was consistently the best among us, but never really made us feel inferior, or even regret how much better he was. He just was, but more than that, he was always the best guy among us.
If he hit a bad shot, it disappointed him, but I never heard him make an excuse, complain or blame the golf gods. I can’t say that I ever saw him lose his temper. To the contrary, if he said anything at all, he’d simply state that he messed up and move on to the next shot.
When the rest of us hit a bad shot, if he said anything, he was invariably encouraging and more often than not found something good to say, even if there was absolutely nothing good about the way we were playing.
Sometimes our group was a foursome and sometimes enough to fill two foursomes. He was the kind of guy who packed a sandwich and some fruit for everyone in the group, and if he miscalculated or someone showed up unexpectedly, he insisted they take a share of his sandwich.
There is not a one of us who is not feeling a void tonight, or does not fear that we will feel it every time we step on a golf course from this point on. In our misery over the loss of his friendship, we can’t help it, but we are selfishly thinking about ourselves because of how much we are going to miss him.
He was more than a better golfer, he was a better person than us, and in our hearts we know that someone like that simply cannot be replaced.
Rest In Peace my friend.