When former North Carolina State University men’s golf coach Richard Sykes stumbled upon Benjamin Shipp six years ago at a junior tournament in Wilmington, N.C., he felt like he had discovered an unblemished Pro V1 in thick fescue.
Sykes came to the tournament to recruit someone else but immediately became enamored with Shipp. The youngster drove the ball with power and displayed a deft touch around the greens on his way to shooting 65, the kind of round that typically attracts a swarm of college coaches.
The only curiosity that subdued the interest around Shipp was the way he constantly fidgeted, blinking rapidly and twitching his face as he spoke. His tics weren’t like the idiosyncratic movements of the club-twirling Keegan Bradley. They were involuntary. Shipp has Tourette syndrome, a nervous system disorder with which he was diagnosed at age 15.
“It didn’t seem to bother his golf game, so it didn’t bother me,” Sykes said. “Once he committed to us, I didn’t want anybody to know about him to be honest. We knew he was being ...
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