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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Golf tournament gets family back together

by Wally Hall | June 29, 2021 at 2:06 a.m.

It was lunch time at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock.

The annual Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame golf tournament attracted almost 50 teams this year, and half were coming off the course while the other half were eating before they teed off.

There isn't another golf tournament like the ASHOF event.

There's plenty of great ones, but this one is like a family reunion disguised as a tournament where players share the common thread of athletics in Arkansas.

Corliss Williamson, a former Arkansas Razorback great, and UCA head basketball Coach Anthony Boone, who was a standout for Ole Miss, talked for a long time.

Both are good guys who downplay their careers with a genuine humbleness. Both were signed up as celebrity golfers.

Each team gets to play with a celebrity, mostly past inductees to the Hall of Fame with a generous supply of media folks.

Former Arkansas and NFL kicker Steve Cox is a celebrity, but he participated with a team comprised of his sons Weston and Stephen, and friends Lee Brun and Hunter Hinton.

Cliff Harris had his own team and everyone's last name was Harris, and Tim Langford had a team, too. Golfing pro Ken Duke also was on a team Monday after playing Sunday in the Senior Players Championship in Akron, Ohio.

The Friday night Duke was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he was in a golf tournament. He talked the organizers into a morning tee time, and as soon as he was finished he raced to the airport for a chartered flight (paid out of his own pocket). He arrived in Little Rock with enough time to change clothes before the group photograph.

The moment the ceremony ended, Duke and his wife raced back to the airport to fly back to the golf tournament.

The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame means that much to just about everyone who has been inducted.

Which is why so many such as Joe Kleine, Ken Hatfield, Norm DeBriyn and many others are willing to be a celebrity, although most of them don't really like being called that.

There are some great golfers as well as duffers.

There are athletes from every sport and every college in Arkansas.

And for that day, they are all friends and family.

Chris Walker's team, Fence Broker's, has won a couple of the tournaments. He has so much fun that he had two teams Monday, including one that had North Little Rock state champion basketball coach Johnny Rice on it.

Rob Tillman, the best back therapist in the world, is on the board and he had a team.

ASHOF Executive Director Terri Conder-Johnson started working Sunday, was back early Monday and finished late that evening.

She along with President Greg Hatcher and tournament director Rodney Peel and their committee began work three months ago.

This tournament has thousands of dollars of prizes on the line, including 85 gifts for those whose names were drawn.

The goodie bag includes a Fairway & Greene golf shirt, and there probably isn't a better-made golf shirt in America, maybe the world.

Everything involved makes it a memorable day.

It is competitive but still fun. Some teams remember losing a year ago by a stroke to a certain team and are ready for payback.

Kevin McReynolds is a regular and a much sought after celebrity player because he can still knock the cover off the ball.

If someone doesn't have a good time, then that person either didn't try or cared too much about winning.

This is an annual tournament where winning is important, but it's not everything.

Print Headline: Golf tournament gets family back together

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