TAMPA, FLORIDA | Like golf itself, Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club is simple in theory and baffling in reality.
The evidence of such a conundrum arrives most every year at the Gasparilla Invitational, a prominent mid-amateur event being played this weekend a few miles from Old Tampa Bay just south of downtown. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, those waters were reputed to have been terrorized by a conniving band of pirates led by José Gaspar, and it’s now a proud city tradition to honor him as a patron of thievery.
Gaspar the apocryphal figure may not have been familiar with golf, but he would certainly approve of the tournament that bears his nickname. For starters, the once-professional event paid its 1932 champion, two-time major winner Paul Runyan, $962 in gold coins, a booty worth boasting over during the Great Depression. Adding to the lore, Walter Hagen showed up two minutes prior to his first round tee time in 1935 and needed no warm-up of any kind on his way to a 64. That led to his last ever individual pr...
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