Don Lively



The question, one I’d never been asked before, took me by surprise.

“Who is your favorite golfer?”

I suppose that the asker was asking because he was caught up in the buzz that begins to permeate our neck of the woods this time of year, every April without fail.

On the day that this week’s scribbling goes to print, the world’s greatest golfers, hundreds of expert golf writers and golf broadcasters, and about a zillion golf fans and groupies will have descended into the area and already, all the talk is about “a tradition unlike any other”.

I’m sure that tagline is accurate. After all, wherever I have traveled, when somebody asks me where I’m from, they have no idea where my little home town is, until I reveal that it’s just south of Augusta.

That little factoid often gets some variation of this response:

“Oh! Where the Masters Tournament is played!”

Yes, indeed.

I have a confession but before I bare my soul, a little background.

I have played golf many times, every single time poorly. The first time I ever played golf was in a work tournament. Prior to that, my only golf experience was Putt-Putt which in no way prepared me for the humiliation that first real match brought to me. That day I imposed my own rule. If I wasn’t on the green in ten swings or less, I quit the hole. My partners appreciated that. I did win a trophy though. It was the back half of a jackass with a tiny little golf club glued to it. I actually kept that little trophy for years.

My game did improve slightly over time. In fact, several years after my first time, I played in another work tournament and I got the “closest to the hole” award. On a par three I left the ball six inches from the hole. I won the mulligan money, the cash collected from players who bought two extra swings before play even started. I was one of those buyers. Later, when I got to thinking about it, another half a foot and I could have been the worst player in history ever to get a hole-inone.

I guess that wasn’t my destiny.

Neither was it my destiny to become a golf nut like so many of my friends.

And now, my confession.

I don’t like golf, therefore, I no longer play golf.

I know, I know, it’s nearly heresy to express that attitude while living so close to The Augusta National Golf Club, on which by the way, I have never set foot.

One year, shortly after I moved back to the Blessed South from Out West, I made the mistake of trying to trailer my four-wheeler to the shop in Augusta for some maintenance.

In April.

THAT week in April.

The ATV shop is on Washington Road.

THAT Washington Road.

As soon as I realized what was happening, I turned my happy tail around and waited a week for the service.

Another time, documented a while back in these pages, I intentionally entered the Masters madness when I tried my hand at being an Uber driver.

I made about enough money to cover the gas and to hose the vomit off of my truck.

The evening was a total disaster.

I’m sorry, I just don’t like golf.

I’m tickled to death for all of you who are so ecstatic about the Masters arrival and I hope you enjoy the week immensely, but count me out.

All that being said, I needed to give my friend an answer as to who my favorite golfer is.

Arnold Palmer?

No, he’s almost everybody on Earth’s favorite.

Jack Nicholas?

Nah, my understanding is, Jack’s turned into a cranky old man.

Tiger Woods?

I don’t like Tiger for the same reason I don’t like Baker Mayfield or Johnny Manziel. I don’t like cocky athletes.

So, who’s my favorite golfer?

Newell “Sarge” Dorsey.

Who, you are probably asking, is Newell “Sarge” Dorsey.

Well, I’ll tell you.

Sarge was on the staff at my junior college in south Georgia decades ago. He was retired from the Air Force, a charismatic character, and all-around good fellow.

And, at least back then, an even worse golfer than me.

I once observed Sarge take a swing that actually sent the golf ball flying backward, something that another observer who understood physics better than me said was impossible.

Maybe so, but Sarge did it, not on purpose, I’m pretty sure.

That feat alone makes Newell “Sarge” Dorsey my favorite golfer.

And now you know.

Come find me the week after the Masters.

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