Isn’t it true how the best performances in golf often are the ones that get off to an inauspicious start? That’s what happened to 57-year-old Gene Elliott on his whirlwind journey to the U.K., although the arduous beginning had nothing to do with birdies or bogeys.
About 45 minutes prior to leaving for his trip to play in the Senior Open Championship qualifier, he received a text saying his flight to England out of Des Moines, Iowa, had been cancelled. Storms in the Chicago area wreaked havoc on air traffic and there were no other options for the day. That’s like hitting your opening tee shot out of bounds and having to scramble for double bogey.
“I was in a panic mode, because you’ve got to get over there, you usually lose a day flying there, and the qualifier is going to be Monday no matter what,” Elliott recalls.
Luckily, he and his wife, DaLena, found a flight the following day that got them to London, about a five-hour drive from Southport, England, where the qualifier was to take place. With DaLena on the bag, Elliott s…