"I have to tell you I am humbled and in awe," says local golfing fan, Greg Avedesian. "I’ve been playing this game for 40 years, there’s no way I could get near the acumen that they have in the game… I mean it feels very great watching them, it makes me feel excited for them."
It’s called the Fightmaster Cup and it’s considered the Ryder Cup for one-armed golfers, inviting the top champions from Europe and North America to compete at Indian Wells Golf Resort.
"The golf ball doesn’t know if the club holding it has one arm or two arms swinging it," says North American Team Captain Dan Aldrich.
The Society of One-Armed Golfers was founded in Europe in the 30s to help injured veterans returning from war assimilate into society.
Decades later, it’s success led to the founding of the North American One-Armed Golfer’s Association.
"You just want to feel like you fit in," says Aldrich. "There are guys that have short arms and you’re 13, 14 or 15 and you know how kids get picked on and you don’t fit in… And they’ve never fit in… Next thing you know they play golf and ‘[say] ‘hey, I fit in.’"
Aldrich was asked if it’s rewarding to offer people that outlet and place to not only fit in, but compete at the highest levels.
"You just want to give back," Aldrich says. "We feel thankful we found that person that gave us that spark and we want to give that to others… We want to give the competitive athlete a place to compete."
And regardless of how the disability occurred, as Texas-native Clay Kemper says, "alligator bit me in Brazil in 2007" that competitive spirit still burns in these athletes.
"Well it’s just getting out of the house, not giving up on what you like to do," says Kemper. Did it take some some time to develop that outlook, Kemper is asked. "No ma’am. I’m grew up on a farm in west Texas, in the sticks. We just take life as it comes."
The tournament is free to the public. Play begins at 8 am for the morning sessions while afternoon sessions begin at 2 pm through Saturday.