I heard one of the most thoughtful PGA Tour stars refer to his peers as being “precious” during a US Open interview. That is probably accurate. Golf as a solitary sport shapes many of the stars to be more insular and reserved. Over the years there are multiple examples of champions who do not fit this generalization.
Gary Sheppard, one of PerryGolf’s Golf Travel Specialists plays to a one handicap, but beyond that he has famous golf connections. His maternal grandfather is the highly respected caddie Willie Aitchison, who saw Lee Trevino home for back to back Open Championship victories in 1971 & 1972 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club and Muirfield respectively.
This years Open Championship at St Andrews will be the 150th anniversary of the event and to mark this, the R & A have arranged for a special 4 hole Past Champions Challenge. All living past champions will be present with the exception of Jack Nicklaus, Nick Price, Johnny Miller, Kel Nagle, and (sadly) Seve Ballesteros.
The 4 hole event holds special significance for me as my granddad, Willie Aitchison, has caddied for 2 Open Champions – Robert Di Vicenzo and Lee Trevino. He was ‘on the bag’ for Di Vicenzo when he won at Royal Liverpool in 1967 and won back-to-back Opens with Trevino at Royal Birkdale in 1971 and Muirfield in 1972. The pairings for the event have still not been announced but it would be special if Di Vicenzo and Trevino were paired together.
It has been estimated that 30,000 fans will be present for the 4 hole exhibition match and I certainly plan on being one of them. This will definitely be the last time that my Grandad and both men get to meet, and although he will not be able to caddy, he does plan on walking the fairways one last time. This promises to be a special moment and it’s something that I would hate to miss. I’ve always been an admirer of Trevino’s game and the way he handled himself on the course; he was a crowd pleaser and certainly someone that the crowds would flock to see. There was never a dull moment and always plenty to talk about after a round when he was involved and I’m already looking forward to seeing him in action in a few weeks time.