White's hard work pays off with Walker Cup trip

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 6, 2013 

Todd White

On Sept. 11, 2001, Todd White was teaching at Dorman High School in Spartanburg County, trying to explain to his students what they were watching on the news.

White, now a teacher at Hilton Head Island High School, saw the site up close on Aug. 31. He and his U.S. Walker Cup teammates received a private tour of One World Trade Center -- also known as the Freedom Tower.

And on Thursday, the team ate lunch with former President George W. Bush. Bush told them about his perspective on the day the terrorists attacked and talked about what transpired in the coming days and months.

Then the former Texas governor played golf with the team on the National Golf Links of America, site of the Walker Cup Match, which will be held Saturday and Sunday. Bush played a couple holes with half of the team and a couple holes with the other half, but walked amongst both groups and interacted with players throughout.

For White, the trip has been more than golf.

"To stand at the site where you saw that unfortunate event take place and the loss of life and the names that are engraved on the memorial stone -- it's very humbling," White said by phone this week. "And also when you see the way things have grown back around it, it makes you proud to be an American."

The national pride will be carried into one of golf's most prestigious amateur events.

The 45-year-old White said he has been asked often about the age gap between him and most of his teammates. With the exception of four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith, who is 35, no one else on the team is older than 22.

White played his final season at Furman before any of his college-age teammates were born. He writes off the age difference, saying he competes against players this caliber throughout the summer and exchanges texts and phone calls with some of his current teammates.

"As a mid-am, I have to spend a little more time conditioning, staying in shape so I can keep up with the younger guys," he said. "It's all worth it."

White and friend Kevin King played National Golf Links as guests of a member after winning the 2012 Baltustrol Invitational, a mid-amateur four-ball event. As they finished their round, the member told White he hoped to see him back the following September.

"And I think he said it half-jokingly," White said. "But obviously as a competitor and as an amateur golfer, in the back of your mind you have to think 'OK, that's a goal.'

"Luckily for me, the hard work paid off."

The 44th Walker Cup Match

What: Amateur golf team event pitting the United States against Great Britain & Ireland

When: Saturday and Sunday

Where: National Golf Links of America, Southampton, N.Y.

Television: Golf Channel, 4-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday


United States: Max Homa, Michael Kim, Jordan Niebrugge, Patrick Rodgers, Nathan Smith, Justin Thomas, Michael Weaver, Todd White, Cory Whitsett, Bobby Wyatt; Captain: Jim Holtgrieve

Britain and Ireland: Matthew Fitzpatrick, England; Nathan Kimsey, England; Gavin Moynihan, Ireland; Max Orrin, England; Kevin Phelan, Ireland; Garrick Porteous, England; Rhys Pugh, Wales; Neil Raymond, England; Callum Shinkwin, England; Jordan Smith, England; Captain: Nigel Edwards, Wales

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