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Jerry Johnston: That’s one big putt for womankind

SHARE Jerry Johnston: That’s one big putt for womankind

I played golf with Jerry Clark a couple of weeks ago. We only had time for nine holes. He shot 35.

Jerry's brother, Paul Clark, drives the ball so far he needs a GPS device to track it down. And as for Papa Dean, he's in his 80s and could still skin me alive in a skins game.

But I'm afraid their names will slowly fade from the annals of Brigham City golf lore. And the name that will remain in high relief will be the name of the family matriarch, Norma Clark, the 77-year-old, white-haired grandma who sank a 50-foot putt on KSL Television's "Golf Show" to win $10,000.

I grew up next door to Norma and her family. I always knew her as a kind neighbor, a concerned mom and a crackerjack Avon sales person.

But all those years I had no idea she had the nerves of an assassin.

The woman has Kool-Aid in her veins.

And if you're starting to wonder what all this is has to do with an "ethics" column, well, Norma's putt was just one more dagger in the heart of golf sexism.

Golf is a civil game, filled with etiquette and self-policing. Yet all too often sexist attitudes creep into it. (Remember the brouhaha at Augusta?)

If you leave a putt a foot short, some wag in your foursome is bound to say, "Nice putt, Alice."

If you leave a putt three-feet short, they'll ask if you got your putter caught in your skirt.

I once left a putt five feet short, and a guy asked me if my husband also played golf.

But Norma's putt put the lie to the notion that women golfers are timid.

The game was never about gender anyway. It's about one individual rising above other individuals.

Put any one of the guys who made those saucy, sexist comments I mentioned above up against any woman who qualified for the Utah State Amateur tournament and the guy will get his head handed to him (Get your putter caught in your kilt, McDuff?)

Norma has given us all a reminder of such things.

So now when I sink a long putt, if somebody wants to say "Nice putt, Norma," I'll tip my hat and thank him for the compliment.

I'll take any comparison to Norma anytime.

Not much scares Norma Clark. Whatever comes at her, she's been through worse.

Remember, the woman raised five kids.