WHILE playing a friendly round of golf with a couple of professionals, United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas invited Gary Thompson to come to the States and try out one of the great American courses — the famous Winged Foot.
Thompson, never one to pass up a chance at new experiences, duly accepted the special invitation.
And so the stage was set.
Thompson tried out the famed venue and with it had a crack at making the cut for the US Senior Golf Open qualifying tournament.
The recently re-elected Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association president’s eyes light up when he talks about is US experience.
“It was a dream come true,” said Thompson who finished in fifth position, ironically five shots behind the winner.
For Thompson, the tournament was mostly about the experience of hitting 16 of 18 greens but with 36 missed putts he missed out on what could have been truly a once in a lifetime opportunity — lining up in the main draw.
With the US Open ticked off the bucket list, Thompson’s next stop will be the British Senior Open which will be played at Saint Andrews next month.
“I feel like this is yet another chance, not just for me to be honest, but for so many people who think the first nine of our lives is over and the back nine has to be the same,” said the 50-year-old.
“I’ve to acclimatise to international golf as I am African and climate conditions differ.”
The British Open will be one of Thompson’s first official assignments after being re-elected ZPGA president and the administrator is looking forward to better days.
“As ZPGA, we are going to make golf so conducive with more tournaments provincially and across the nation”, said Thompson.
“We are so pleased about the development of the game. It’s a great opportunity for the corporate world to come on board and lend in a hand,” he said.