AUGUSTA, GA (WIS) - The game of golf can certainly be frustrating for those of us who can actually see our clubs, the course and, of course, keep our eyes on that little white ball. Imagine now, if your eyes didn't work at all. Playing golf would be impossible, right?
Nope... There's a man in the Midlands beating the odds. He can't see anything, but he's playing golf and loving it.
To understand why 66-year-old Willie Jones plays this grand old game with a smile on his face, you have to understand what took his vision in the first place.
Jones was driving drunk 36 years ago when he wrecked his car. Two weeks after the crash, he woke up in the hospital and was missing his right eye and had no vision in his left. "I was angry," said Jones. "I was bitter 'cause I had brought this on myself."
The admitted alcoholic and rebel says the wreck might have taken his ability to see, but not his ability to see to 'see the light.' Since the accident, Willie hasn't had a drink or cigarette. "Once I was seeing, I was blind," said Jones. But now I'm blind, I can see because of the Lord Jesus. He's the bottom line."
Despite his disability, Willie battled through the realization that he would never see again and found his way back to the links. "I used to see this golf course. I used to play on this golf course and most every time I come by this golf course... I can visualize myself walking these holes, playing 'em," said Willie.
Before the accident, Willie worked as a caddy for many of the golfers who passed through Augusta, holding the bag on the storied grounds of Augusta national and playing the links at the municipal golf course.
He rediscovered his passion when he had nothing else to turn to. "Life is not over with and it really doesn't matter what type of disability," said Jones.
Willie has an obvious disadvantage when he's on the course, but there's one thing people passing through the Augusta municipal golf course don't have: the memory of every turn and bunker locked in for the past five decades. "I've got to see it in my mind before I can hit it," said Jones.
Every shot isn't his best, but for Willie, regaining his faith and being on the golf course is victory enough. "Sometimes I walk up here at least two or three times just to play," he said.
Willie says one of his dreams is to play a round with Augusta native Charles Howell and to one day tee off at Augusta national. And if Willie continues to overcome challenges in front of him, there's no doubt his dreams will come true.