Tony Schiros envisions greatness. But it's impossible for him to see the path to achieve it.
The 65-year-old from Odessa lost sight in both eyes--one when he was 11, and the other when he was 29. It was a bully who punched him as a pre-teen that led to his left eye's complete blindness. It was a firework that hit him and took out his right. He had five cornea transplants to help him salvage about 60% vision in that right eye for many years. But four years ago, a retina detachment in that eye--partially from all the stress of the surgeries, and partially from strain at work--ended his ability to see at all.
Yet, about a year ago, he returned to the golf course, where he had spent so much time playing with partial sight. Only now, he has to do it without being able to see the ball, the hole or any obstacles that might be in the way.
Blind golf is a exactly like regular golf in the way it's played and how the rules are set, with two exceptions. You can ground your club in a hazard, and you can have a coach stand behind you and set you up for each shot.
Tony didn't realize until last year that competing as a blind golfer were an option. He says he could have been competing all those years in a partial sight category. But now, he competes with no sight in the toughest category of all. Though, as he plays for national championships, and perhaps international championships, he says its a task actually easier now that he's completely blind. Partial sight makes hitting the ball and trusting coordination harder.
Last year, in his first national tournament, he finished 2nd. This month at the national championship, he was 5th. But he wants to be on top. "Winning wouldn't feel so good if losing didn't hurt so bad," he says.
Tony has two holes-in-one to his credit, and now, one incredible desire to ace the newest obstacle in his life.
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