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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blind Golfer Pat Browne Belongs in World Golf Hall of Fame

As the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Tournament gets ready to tee off at Mount Kisco Country Club, it's a good time to jump on the bandwagon to get Pat Browne, Jr., elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame. The United States Blind Golf Association (USBGA) has taken up the cause to get the golf phenom chosen for induction in 2015.  Browne, the world’s most accomplished blind golfer, has 70 global blind golf victories to his credit, including a remarkable 23 National Championship titles.  He is regarded as the USBGA’s international ambassador and is a beacon of encouragement for all blind golfers.   

The USBGA has launched a national campaign to encourage the public, PGA of America professionals, the major golf associations, pro tours and other groups to write the World Golf Hall of Fame in support of Browne’s candidacy in the Lifetime Achievement category.  The legendary Arnold Palmer also is behind the movement to have Browne inducted with the next class of honorees in 2015.

Browne, now in his 80s, remains competitive and an inspiration of hope.  He has been honored by many prestigious organizations for his impressive playing record, as well as his courage and leadership.  Browne won the 1988 Ben Hogan Award, presented by the Golf Writers Association of America; the 2007 Mary Bea Porter Award, given by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association; and he was elected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, the Tulane University Hall of Fame, and the Sugar Bowl Athletic Hall of Fame.

Browne, a former scratch golfer and promising attorney, lost his sight in a car accident in 1966.  Instead of leaving the game he loved, he embraced the challenge of conquering the handicap that fate had dealt him.  Of his many record-setting feats, Browne played a 9-home exhibition match in 1990 with U.S. Open Champion Payne Stewart.  Stewart, who competed with a blindfold, lost by 18 shots to Browne and was so humbled by Browne’s prowess that he proclaimed he could never beat him, “even if I practiced every day.”

To join the campaign in support of having Pat Browne, Jr. inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, please e-mail bwaters @ wghof.org and put the words "Pat Browne, Jr." in the subject line.
Browne, who served as the USBGA’s president from 1974-1992, lives in New Orleans.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

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