Of all the great seasons of golf George Zahringer has put together over his 55 years, 2007 might have been the most impressive.
The New York amateur stalwart won his record tenth Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year title (his fourth in as many decades) after piling up a closet full of accolades.
He started by winning The Ike for a record fifth time, shared low-amateur honors at the U.S. Senior Open with Danny Green and became the oldest player in history to make it to match play at the U.S. Amateur, where he gave eventual champ Colt Knost a run for his money at The Olympic Club.
He finished things off by making match play at the U.S. Mid-Amateur, an event he won in 2002.
It took events that would shake the bedrock financial institutions across the country to throw Zahringer off his game in 2008.
A 29-year veteran employee of Bear Stearns, Zahringer was caught up in the maelstrom on Wall Street over the past months, which obviously meant less time to practice his game and more missed cuts, notably at the Senior Open and U.S. Mid-Am.
After his employers collapse, Zahringer was scooped up by Deutsche Bank and began to get his golf game back on track at the U.S. Senior Amateur at Shady Oaks in Ft. Worth.
“I’ve been playing catch-up on golf,” he told the USGA's Ken Klavon at the Senior Am. “I’m about two months behind because of everything that happened. Maybe six to eight weeks behind because I didn’t play any golf in the spring. It’s been so hard to get competitive.
“I’ve always been able to compartmentalize my business life and my golf life,” he said. “But there was so much upheaval and volatility in the market.”
After qualifying for match play in 44th with a 9-over 151, Zahringer cut through the field with relative ease until a tough semifinal battle with Randy Nichols, which he won 1-up.
The run finally ended when 2007 and 2009 Walker Cup captain George "Buddy" Marucci took home his first USGA title with a 2-up victory.