The winners of this years four senior major championships played each other over 36 holes on the World Golf Villages Slammer & Squire course. In the awards ceremony this afternoon for the Senior Slam, runner-up Tom Watson didnt focus on the golf, he had the presence of mind, the presence of a patriot to thank all of the Veterans for what theyve done for him, for our country.
'Without the members of the Armed Forces, Tom said, I wouldnt be able to play golf for a living.
Watson, the Senior PGA champion, had just earned $150,000 for finishing second to Senior Players champion Allen Doyle. The Veterans, Hall of Fame member Watson said, give us our freedom and protect our way of life. We owe them everything.
A few hours later, six men and women who have contributed so much to the game of golf were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Three greats of golf were honored posthumously: St. Andrews first professional Allan Robertson, Ping founder Karsten Solheim and two-time U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart.
Judy Bell, the United States Golf Associations first woman president, two-time U.S. Womens Open champion Donna Caponi and two-time British Open champion Greg Norman were all proudly on stage to reap the applause and honors they all so justly deserve.
All of the speeches were marked by patriotic and American themes. Norman, an Australian, spoke of how proud he is of the close alliance between his homeland and the United States, of how proud he is to now live in this great and resilient country.
November 11, 1918 was the day World War I came to an end. In 1926, Congress enacted a resolution creating the holiday, Armistice Day. The resolution states it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations.
In 1954, Congress re-named November 11 Veterans Day. Later that same year, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation which, in part, stated: In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.
Judy Bell ended her speech God Bless America. Payne Stewarts widow, Tracey, moved the audience to tears in remembering her husband. Donna Caponi inspired all of us on-hand to smile.
Spectacular fireworks capped the evening. What a wonderful way to celebrate Veterans Day.