Standing On Their Own

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, ENGLAND | They formed up in the shape of a crescent, passing the trophy from one to another. Smiles creased their faces. Then you noticed: The three men at one end of the crescent had two good legs between them. Several were missing a finger. One man didn’t have any knees, never mind limbs below his knees. Another had only one arm. A third had only one eye. These were the faces of men who had been injured in battle but were now on the road to recovery thanks to golf. They might have lost limbs, be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, been shot through the chest or neck but there was no hiding their delight at participating in the Simpson Cup between squads of 13 wounded servicemen from the U.S. and Britain. When you’re out on patrol and an insurgent jumps in front of you and aims an armour-piercing rocket grenade at you that will knock you into a wall 15 metres away and turn your truck into a flaming inferno, things that happen on a golf course don’t faze you much. Divot holes aren’t a worry. Nor are curling down-hill putts. Inexplicable bounces are treated with disdain. When shrapnel has pierced your throat, or the left side of your body has
no nerves or a bullet has entered your carotid artery or both legs are little more than stumps, then teeing off in front of the historic clubhouse at Royal Lytham isn’t likely to cause your heart to race.


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