RICHMOND, TX (September 13, 2005) -- Corey Weworski walked off the 15th green late Tuesday and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She leaned into Jamie Hoffman, her disposition more somber than relieved.
“I never want to do this again,” said Weworski, scant moments after cementing a 4-and-3 victory.
The cruelty of match play showed its hideous face at Shadow Hawk Golf Club in the third round. It proved once again that it does not discriminate. Anyone who disbelieves should ask Weworski. Here was Hoffman, a jack-of-all-trades, standing in Weworski’s path to defending. Player. Caddie. Now opponent. Hoffman has served all roles well. Because that’s what best friends do.
The two facing each other wasn’t analogous to a heated rivalry, teeming with hatred. Rather, in many respects, worse. When emotion and deep feelings for your opponent have to somehow be tucked in the back pocket, it’s a crude reminder that golf takes a back seat in the game of life.
“I didn’t like it. Never again,” said Weworski, 43, after hitching a ride back to the clubhouse. “I was happy it was over.”
Weworski couldn’t find the words so Hoffman, sitting close by on a couch, translated.
“She really wants me to win this event because she won it,” said the 43-year-old Hoffman. “She wants me to experience that, that same feeling she had.”
Is there any doubt they’re friends? How they became so close deserves an explanation.
The two Californians met one another on, of all places, a golf course roughly 12 years ago. San Luis Rey Downs, near San Diego, to be exact. The two forged a kinship that has remained strong, like a square-knot. They found they had similar interests, namely kids. A twin herself, Hoffman had recently delivered twin boys, Evan and Scott, prior to the two being introduced to one another. Weworski had two boys of her own, Tyler and Ryan. They hit it off.
From there, the relationship developed. They played golf together and talked. Shared stories. They even went against each other during the San Luis Rey Downs club championship, which Hoffman won the first three times they were in it together. Weworski won it the fourth and final time she played in it.
After that, Hoffman identified the Mid-Amateur as a championship that would fit each one’s games. So they pushed one another. Hoffman a little harder. In fact, Hoffman probably should be given partial credit for Weworski’s victory last year at Holston Hills Country Club. Leading up to the championship, Weworski intimated she had plans to withdraw for family reasons. Hoffman intimated back, in so many words, that she’d be dragging her to Knoxville with or without her permission. It was a championship Weworski could win, Hoffman said, even if Weworski didn’t believe it.
“She said, ‘If you don’t go, I’ll never go to another golf tournament with you,’” said Weworski, who agreed but on a condition that they’d use the week as a vacation if both didn’t make the cut.
Hoffman didn’t. Weworski did. To her delight, Hoffman’s ‘vacation’ was spent lugging her friend’s bag around while she racked up victories. On the day of the final, Hoffman had to leave and Weworski had to use the caddie master instead. No one was happier that Weworski won than Hoffman.
“It was the best thing,” she said. “It was so cool. I always said it’s a tournament she and I could win.”
This year Hoffman set a goal of making the cut. “I swore I’d never do that again,” she said of missing a cut last year. “I put way too much pressure on myself.”
The two had the same deal this year: if one of them missed the cut, the other would caddie. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. But the golf gods had something else in store even if it was in the backs of their minds.
“The first day of match play we both saw we could play each other,” said Weworski. “We really didn’t think it was going to happen.”
Hoffman had never won a match before until dispatching 1988 champion Martha Lang in the first round and friend Sally Krueger in Tuesday’s morning match. Knowing she had to take on Weworski, she got nervous, which hung with her throughout the match like an upset stomach.
“Playing Sally this morning was a little rough, but not as tough as playing Corey – mentally,” said Hoffman.
It’s immaterial to describe the details, other than to summarize that Weworski held a 4-up lead through the first eight holes and was never in any danger. When Weworski holed out for the victory on No. 15, the two embraced. Each wore a haggard smile.
A friend following the match requested a photo of the two with the standard bearer afterward. The standard bearer had just taken off the 4-and-3 lettering that pronounced Weworski the winner. The photographer asked that he put it back, to which a firm Weworski said no. There was no purpose.
Memories and respect far outweigh any victory.
Ken Klavon is the USGA’s web editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org