For those of you who do not already know me, my name is Joey Kaney from Warrenton, Georgia and mrstatgolf.com is a dream of mine come true. Since I began playing golf in 1968, I have been involved in some way with golf scores and golf results and eventually evolved into mr. stat. Probably partly because of age, mr. stat has now evolved from a golf statistician into a golf historian. You can't believe how enjoyable it is for me to research old newspapers and see the names of golfers I have competed against or see the names of the many friends I have made through golf. To see where they had some success in a golf tournament that I had long forgotten, or never knew anything about, brings a smile to my face. As we continue to build mrstatgolf.com, I hope that my love for what we are doing here will somehow bring similar pleasure and bring back many wonderful golf memories to you as well.
We all have to agree the state of Georgia has a very deep and rich golf history. Bobby Jones and The Masters helped bring world-wide golf fame to our state. Numerous PGA, LPGA and USGA events held in Georgia throughout the years have helped keep us on the forefront. But what about the thousands of invitationals and club championships held at hundreds of golf courses across the state? Those tournaments have been won by our grandparents, our parents, our siblings, our spouses, our children, our grand-children and our friends and they are just as important to Georgia's golf history as are the big boys and girls winning on television. Golf tournaments, no matter how small or how large, are held to determine a champion. And those champions deserve to be remembered.
Last fall I asked a lady about her son's golf and was proudly told he had recently won a tournament. A tournament I had participated in several times in the 1980s. Wondering who had won the tournament over the years, I researched the internet with little success. I am not mr. internet and have limited searching skills, but I thought it was ridiculous there wasn't a go-to place on the web to see who had won a particular golf tournament. It occurred to me that mr. stat can create such a place and it was time for us to do so. My wife, Marie, jumped on board and has become my biggest supporter. Several friends have given me great encouragement and so here we are!!
On a trip to south Georgia a few months ago, I planned to stop at five golf courses to gather some tournament champions. When I arrived at the courses, I found that three were closed. Permanently! Also three golf courses within 30 miles of my home have closed in the past few years and several more are currently struggling to stay open. History is disappearing with these courses. Plaques and trophies honoring tournament champions are being stashed away in some unknown place or thrown into the trash. It is time to preserve this part of Georgia's golf history before it is too late. It's time for as many champions of as many tournaments that have been held in Georgia to have their wins preserved in history. Plus it is time we have a one-stop research site to enjoy seeing who has won what in Georgia and to refresh our memories of how tournament golf in Georgia has affected our lives, regardless of whether we were playing it or just enjoying it.
All of us have watched on television the best players in the world trying to win a golf tournament. We see them perform on the highest stage. We see them hit shots we wish we could hit and see them miss putts that we would have made (yeah, right!!). We see tournament champions made right before our very eyes and imagine ourselves in their shoes.
What we don't see are golfers performing on a lesser stage of which we are much more familiar. They are hitting shots like we hit and missing putts like we miss (but not next time!!). We see tournament champions made right beside us and we could have been in their shoes.
In my 50 years of playing golf, I have been fortunate to win a few tournaments along the way. Hundreds of times more I have been successful in just plain getting beat, choking my guts out, or, even worse, not playing well enough to be a factor in the outcome. One thing I have learned is that winning a golf tournament is hard! Very hard!!
Let's imagine walking down a sidewalk. Pretty much a thoughtless feat. We can walk forwards or backwards, fast or slow, and never give stepping on the grass any thought. Now put that sidewalk 10 feet in the air. It's still the same sidewalk, but now our walk has gotten our attention a little bit. Put that sidewalk 50 feet in the air and most of us would just stay home.
I do believe the height of a golf tournament's sidewalk is directly proportional to the importance a golf tournament is to a golfer. Most of us have been in the situation where we start holding the club a little tighter, walking a little faster, breathing a little less and trying way too hard. Usually that meant we were in a golf tournament that meant something to us and most of the time the sidewalk got a little too high off the ground.
But no matter the height of the sidewalk, the tournament champion survived the walk. We usually quietly gained some admiration for that champion, whether we outwardly acknowledged it or not. Admiration for handling the sidewalk a little better than we did. And that is what this website is all about. Let's give the champion a little bragging rights! No matter how small or how large the tournament, it's time to acknowledge the win. It's time preserve Georgia's golf history one champion at a time and give each champion a home for their accomplishments.
Thank you for visiting mrstatgolf.com. We hope this is the first of many visits by you. Please keep in mind we are just getting started. We currently only have a fraction of the champions we hope to have and are almost certain to have additional champions for you on every visit. Please tell your family and friends about us, please support our sponsors as they come on board and please help us fill in our gaps. Together we can make this a wonderful tribute to Georgia's golf champions and a fun and informative website for all lovers of Georgia's golf history.