Saying good bye to James Bond . . . and to golf

I posed for a photo with golf great Lee Trevino .

By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer

One afternoon after classes got out at my university, several of us headed to the golf course for a few holes before the sun went down.

We noticed two guys and a woman about to catch up with us, so we stopped to let them play through.

They were folk singers Peter, Paul and Mary, who were to be in concert that night.

On another occasion, we played the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. As we were about to tee off, I looked back in hopes the group waiting on the tee wasn’t watching closely in case I whiffed. In the group was James Bond — actor Sean Connery. 

Sean Connery hits a shot during the 2002 Laureus Golf Challenge at the Monte Carlo Golf Club at Mont Agel in Monaco./ David Cannon/Golfworld His reputation is that of a good golfer.

No, I didn’t whiff.

Because he was knighted, Connery was exempt from a rule that golfers must hire caddies.

That night while we dined (on Hagis) in the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, I saw James Bond Connery in a tux and tallking on the phone in the lobby. It looked like a scene from one of his movies.

Sir Sean at 90 died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas, having been “unwell for some time”, his son said.

Starstruck, the next day I posed for a photo with golf great Lee Trevino .

That was then, this is now.

In 1979 in Casa Grande, our golf cart flipped over, tossing my partner and me into some dirty water. Unhurt, we laughed for hours.

I’ve had a hole-in-one at Sun Lakes and won the President’s Cup at San Marcos Golf Resort, where I played for nearly 40 years.

Golf has been a big part of my life since college days, providing many memories, good shots, bad shots and, as meaningful as the game itself, the comaraderie of competing friends, win or lose. (And those $5 Nassaus.)

As it is for athletes who leave their games because they are no longer able to perform because of age or injury, the day comes when it’s all over.

At 79, my mind and desire to play are sharp, but physically, I can no longer finish 18 holes or enjoy the time on the course.

I gave it one more try three years ago, thinking it might all come back to a time when I could compete.

Not going to happen.

I put the big sticks away, but don’ t want to sell them.

RIP Sean Connery.

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November 2020