The Norman Transcript

July 7, 2013

Plenty of good stories coming out of Westwood Invitational

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — It’s not that Scott Shaw and Scott Humphreys represent the Westwood Invitational better than everybody else.

Handing them such an honor wouldn’t be fair to the lifers who play it every year, nor to the Westwood regulars who will be loyal to it as long it’s running and they’re able to swing a club.

And still, it’s hard to do better than the two Scotts. Childhood friends who grew up in the same Norman neighborhood and who first went to school together at Cleveland Elementary, each began their very first Westwood Invitational run at noon Friday.

Eventually, they graduated from Norman High together in 1989. But with Shaw in the oil and gas business and living in Edmond and Humphreys a home builder living in Norman, they don’t play golf together nor see each other quite as much as they used to. But they’ve never lost contact and Humphreys realized he had nothing else on his schedule this Fourth of July Weekend.

“He called and brought it up and I was like, ‘Sure, yeah,’” Shaw said.

As many in the 129-player field will do, Shaw and Humphreys requested to be grouped together despite playing in different flights. And though neither seems completely sure if the last time they spent big parts of three consecutive days together was in high school, college or for Shaw’s bachelor party, they know it’s been a long time.

The tournament’s about a lot of things, and getting old friends together is certainly one of them. But that’s not the only thing about it that applies to the two Scotts.

Saturday, Shaw made an 8 on No. 3, a short par 4. A couple of hours later, Humphreys made a 10 on the par 4 11th.

But Shaw came back with a number of pars that became part of the 87 he followed his opening 86 with, while Humphreys responded by playing the rest of the back nine in 1-over par and with a flourish, making birdie at the par 5 16th, as well as the difficult par 3 17th, where he knocked his approach inside the closest-to-the-pin marker reserved for Championship Flight only.

The tournament is about that, too. It’s about being humbled by the game because, gee whiz, just how often does an amateur golfer play the ball down and putt everything out? But it’s also about sticking with it and making it to the finish line because there is virtue in going the distance.

“I’ve never played in a tournament like this,” Humphreys said. “I’ve played in scrambles all the time, but never as an individual.”

Shaw said he thought strict tourney conditions might add 10 strokes to the games of the uninitiated

“It’s told me I need a lot of work on my game,” said Shaw, who once upon a time was an NHS golfer, playing Westwood Park almost every day.

Both decided the tournament’s been fun, but when asked to elaborate, the question became trickier.

“I don’t know,” Shaw said. “I don’t want to expand on that … It’s punishing, really.”

Both thoughts are true. It’s fun and punishing. At some level, it may even be fun because it’s punishing. If it’s not, well, fighting the good fight is at least rewarding. And it’s not like only weaknesses are exposed.

For instance, Shaw can get up and down from the ball washer. Of all the things to be good at in the face of intermittent golf, that has to be last on the list and yet it’s his strength.

Meanwhile, Humphreys absolutely smashes the ball. Part of his problem on No. 11 was a drive that put him too close to the water, requiring too delicate a pitch over the hazard. Of course, it was his long hitting that set up the birdie at No. 16 and what may have only been a 7-iron he knocked it stiff at No. 17.

Anyway, after 36 holes, Shaw and Humphreys have plenty of stories. Maybe more than anything else, this tournament’s about that.

There will be many more today.

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning