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Amputee golfers find competition, camaraderie at annual Rock Island tournament

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Two dozen golfers gathered for a tournament in Rock Island. Some were there for the competition, others to see old friends, but one thing they all had in common, all the players are amputees.

The 2nd Annual Quad Cities Amputee Golf Outing was held over the weekend June 21 and 22, 2014 at the Arsenal Island Golf Course.

The outing was open to all amputees regardless of how each person lost their limb or limbs. It was two days of golf and friendship. It was a competition nonetheless, but organizers say it’s about the fellowship.

“It’s called an outing, and mostly we’re here to have fun, you know if you get lucky you do good, you get a trophy,” said organizer Bobby Jones, who started the tournament with his wife Sara in 2013. “Mostly it’s just like our camaraderie, you know, it’s just like a big support group for all of us… we just have a good time.”

Jones said the outing is an extension of the Midwest Golf Association, and the tournament held in 2013 was the first in the area. Outings just like it are held all over the Midwest including states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and more.

Walt Morris, who lost his leg in 1972 in Vietnam, said playing in golf tournaments has led him to meet some lifelong friends, even people from all over the world.

“We all have something in common, we’re all amputees, we all play golf, we all have life goals, we all have families, grandkids, kids, it’s not any different from any other community… it’s just we all happen to be amputees as opposed to folks with all their limbs,” Morris said.

Morris was one of the winners from the 2013 tournament. He says no matter what limitations someone may say you have, it’s what’s inside that counts.

“Anybody with disabilities, it doesn’t matter whether they’re amputations or whether they’re stroke victims, or whether it’s birth defects or whatever it is, you can’t let anything stop you,” Morris said. “Don’t let anybody tell you you can’t because you can… it’s all about what’s inside you.”