My #1 Fan’s Story

Chip Beck
If golf is a gentleman’s game, then Chip Beck is the perfect ambassador.
I first met Chip at the PGA Championship in St. Louis in 1992. It was Monday, the first practice day, and like the other avid golf fans at the tournament, I was “stargazing,” trying to get a glimpse of the Tour players that I watched play on TV every weekend.
My family and I spotted Chip among a gathering of reporters and spectators. He had shot a 59 in a tournament in Las Vegas a year earlier and was enjoying a good season so the media and fans were obviously very interested in speaking with him.
We wanted to talk to him, too, but I’m a quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury, and I have to use a wheelchair to get around. That makes navigating the golf course difficult at times. Since Chip was up by the clubhouse, and we were down by the driving range, I figured my chance to meet him would have to wait until another time. However, my Aunt Teresa had other ideas. She is a bit uninhibited and decided to take matters into her own hands. Before I knew what was happening, I turned around and saw my aunt take Chip by the wrist and lead him down to where our little group was congregated.
I was mortified by her brazen behavior. The last thing I wanted to do was bother Chip while he was busy, but he couldn’t have been more gracious. He thanked us all for coming to the tournament, signed autographs, and posed for pictures. We talked for several moments, and as he was about to leave, I wished him good luck and told him I hoped to see him in the winner’s circle on Sunday. He asked if I would be at the tournament on Sunday, and I told him no that we only had tickets for that day.
Then he did something that really surprised me. He offered me a contestant guest pass for the rest of the event. Wow! I could hardly believe it. I was blown away by his generosity. When I recovered from my shock, I gratefully accepted the pass.
I had been to a couple of other professional golf tournaments before, but that was my first time at a major. The contestant guest pass allowed me to go to several more rounds and witness some spectacular golf. It was an extremely special and memorable week for me, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Chip’s thoughtfulness.
Every summer my family and I attend a few tournaments, and we have run into Chip often over the years. He always makes a point to chat with us, and we have become acquainted with his wonderful family. If you have followed Chip’s career at all, you probably know that it has had its ups and downs. While no one likes to struggle, I
have never seen a bad round of golf affect Chip’s demeanor toward me or his other fans.
He always greets us with a bright smile and a kind word. His resiliency and positive attitude are inspiring.
Chip is one-of-kind, a true gentleman and a real class act. That’s why it doesn’t matter what his scorecard might say. He is always a winner.
Teri Campbell, Chip’s #1 fan