There lived a man. His name is Pat Browne Jr.
He was a pro golfer and a champ despite his visual impairment. Browne passed on at the ripe age of 84 on Thursday so we take out time to remember him.
Browne was not born blind as he lost his sight with time, but he never lost his passion for the game. He attended tourneys as a spectator and using nature to enjoy the game. He would wait to listen to the sound of the club hitting the ball and he would know if it was a good or bad shot.
He was a rising star at Jesuit High School and Tulane University but an accident in 1966 made him lose his eyesight. His life was a story of courage, perseverance and focus – something he pushes off to remain modest.
“I don’t consider myself courageous. I consider myself lucky. I could have been a cab driver or a doctor. If I had, the transition would have been awfully tough. But I was a lawyer, a job in which hearing and speech is more important than sight,” he was quoted to have said.
Despite losing his sight in a head-on smashup on Airline Highway and losing judgement on the incident, he was back to legal practice in months. He credited his long-time friend Don Doyle and his coach Henry Sarpy for their help and patience all-through.
He played in golf tournaments including two national events that the US Blind Golfers Association sponsored. Blind golfers abide by all the rules guiding the game except that in a trap, they are permitted to ground their club.
Browne’s story is that of inspiration and dedication and a great comeback. The champ from New Orleans would be missed as he rests on.