was saying how more than a few of the corporate outings, charity fundraisers and made-for-whatever events in which professional golfers participate don't exactly move the needle on the fun-o-meter.
Monday, however, was not one of those days. He clearly enjoyed the afternoon at the Independence Golf Club, west of Richmond, for both the company and the cause.
Strange joined compadres and fellow Virginia natives Lanny and
for a skins-game fundraiser staged by the Virginia State Golf Association.
"You do a lot of events and it's work," said Strange, the two-time
champ, shortly before the quintet teed off. "It's entertainment, but it's work. This is fun."
Monday was the first time that all five of them assembled for a round of golf. They all see each other periodically and play occasionally in various permutations, but schedules and obligations didn't permit a group outing until now.
The five have accounted for 44
and Champions Tour wins, 13 Ryder Cup appearances, four U.S. Amateur, British Amateur and USGA Senior Amateur titles, 11 VSGA State Amateur titles and 10 State Open victories.
Strange is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
will join him, with a Nov. 2 induction ceremony in St. Augustine, Fla.
Wadkins joked that he's told friends, "All I am is an excuse to have a party. That's kind of what it is. It's going to be a very fun weekend. I've been trying to convince my boys for the last five years that I could actually play at one time, so maybe they'll see something down there that will jog their memory, see that I actually accomplished something somewhere."
Though all five are past their competitive primes, the oldest of the group and the lifelong amateur, Giles, turned back the clock by winning the USGA Senior Amateur last month in Chicago.
"At 66," Giles said, "I thought I was probably a little old to win that tournament, pure and simply because there's a tremendous difference between 55 and 65."
Giles, a gentlemanly competitor rarely given to emotional displays on the course, gave an exaggerated fist pump and then ran halfway around the green when the winning putt fell on 18 in the match-play final.
He is only the second person to win both a U.S. Amateur and Senior Amateur. The 37 years between USGA titles — he won the U.S. Amateur in 1972 — was the most ever.
"It was a lot of fun," Giles said. "It was the only goal I really had in senior amateur golf. To achieve it at 66 was, quite honestly, surprising, and it probably made it more special."
While the USGA Senior Amateur was the topping on Giles' career, Lanny Wadkins' upcoming induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame is a humbling culmination.
Wadkins' résumé includes 21 PGA Tour wins, with a PGA title at Pebble Beach and a monstrous U.S. team track record.
played in more U.S. Ryder Cup matches than Wadkins, only
won more matches. Only Casper and Palmer won more points than Wadkins.
Wadkins also represented the U.S. on Walker Cup teams and in a slew of other international competitions, something he clearly relished as much as his individual accomplishments.
"You've got to do the individual stuff to get on the team stuff," Wadkins said. "That was always exciting to me, and I loved being a part of that. I think I liked being a part of it because it was something we didn't do on a regular basis. That was what made it so special.
"It's always nice to have the best players in the world on your side, and not having to try to kick their butt. It was a lot more fun."
Individually, Wadkins said that he's proudest of the breadth of his accomplishments: winning at home and abroad, on superior golf courses such as Pebble Beach, Firestone and Riviera, and in his native and adopted homes.
The successes of all five granted them an opportunity to give back and benefit the VSGA and its youth program, which are both based at Independence Golf Club.
"If you don't keep that growth going," Giles said, "this game, it won't die but it sure as heck will never flourish. And right now, especially with the economy we're in, it needs a real boost. Junior golf is the best way to get it going."
Strange, the former PGA Tour pro at Kingsmill, said that he has fully recovered from hip surgery last spring. His plan of 10 to 12 Champions Tour events per year and eight weeks of TV commentary allows for family time, as well as outings such as Monday.
"I think we have a responsibility," Strange said. "When you have success, there is a responsibility. Some of that is to support the game, to support junior golf. If people didn't support it back in my day, I wouldn't be here.
"Things that my dad, or other dads did, you try to encourage. It's all part of it. And our way of doing that is coming to play and hopefully raising some money."
A few laughs in the process never hurt, either.
Dave Fairbank can be reached at 247-4637 or by e-mail at