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74-year old legally 'Blind Golfer' wins world team championship

Linda Port and the North American visually impaired team won the 2022 TPC Sawgrass Vision Cup.

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. — After a competitive golfer lost her sight, she googled the words 'Blind Golf' and was surprised to learn that it is actually a thing. In this Zevely Zone, I visited the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club to meet a world champion. That's where I found Linda Port about to hit a golf ball she couldn't see. Golfing is one of the most challenging sports in the world, especially when you are legally blind. 

"Yes, it is harder, when you can't see the ball it's definitely harder," said the 74-year-old golfer. 

In 1986, Linda started losing her central vision. "I can see everything pretty well with fuzzy vision like you do, which is called peripheral vision out here, but if I'm looking at your face, I cannot see your face," said Linda.

Credit: Linda Port

"Left side of those trees," said Fred Port who is Linda's husband and golf guide. "Got it, got it," said Linda. Fred told us, "When she turns it on and it's time compete, she is there is there with every bit of energy and brain power you name it she brings it." 

Out on the course, when a husband serves as your sight that can create some drama. "When we started, we had some husband wife issues," said Fred. Linda told Fred all she needed to know was how far to hit the ball and in which direction. Fred never tells Linda when she hits a bad shot. "Nope because what good would it do?" said Fred.

Credit: Linda Port

With Linda as my golf guide, I wanted to see for myself if I could follow her directions with my eyes closed. I took a big swing at the ball and said, "That felt like it went 200 yards down the middle. Ha, ha, ha. What happened?" Linda laughed and said, "It's still there." I missed the ball completely.  

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Which makes the next part of this story even more miraculous, Linda and her fellow North American blind golfers just beat the world at TPC Sawgrass Vision Cup. "North America won for the first time ever," said Linda. 

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is legendary and so was Linda when she parred it. "My biggest message is let's get some kids out there learning golf," said Linda. More and more vision impaired children are playing golf. "When they hit that ball, you would have thought they had just won a million dollars," said Fred.  

Credit: CBS 8

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Linda says anyone can take a swing at a strong mindset. "The brain is an amazing thing," said Linda. So is she. If you are visually impaired, Linda hopes you'll check out the United States Blind Golf Association. For more information click here.

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