By Joey Goodman, Sports Columnist
Calling on John Daly to help the Mobetta Golf Tour succeed.
You have to admit, Apache, Okla., native Maury Tate has come up with some creative ideas from producing those amazing shirts that Garth Brooks wears on stage, to starting an annual benefit quail hunt that helped put his small hometown on the map.
Now Tate and long-time friend Robert Nunn, another Apache native, have come up with a way to give the best local golfers from across the United States a chance to win cash prizes with their “Mo” Betta Golf Tour.
Their main problem was that Tate, a former professional rodeo cowboy, wouldn’t know which end of the golf club to hold and Nunn, well this writer has played golf with him and he’s not anywhere near a scratch golfer as well.
So, they needed somebody who knew the game well, a person who could communicate with golfers and was as colorful as those “Mo” Betta shirts.
They found just that golfer in John Daly, the veteran who has seen and done it all during his time on the PGA Tour and now the Champions Tour.
Daly won the PGA Championship in 1991, earning Rookie of the Year honors as well. He later won the 1995 British Open title and in 2004 won the Buick Invitational and later was named Comeback Player of the Year that season.
“This was a great idea and I think you will see golfers jumping at the opportunity to compete at some of the best courses in the country,” Daly said during a recent phone interview. “There are many really good golfers, including many club pros, and this format is designed for them.”
Golfers just sign up for membership at the “Mo” Betta Golf Tour Website, then pick the tournaments they want to compete in during the upcoming months, starting with the first event Dec. 9 to 14 at Troon North in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The January lineup includes Marsh Landing in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and among the eight tournaments already planned in February is one Shingle Creek Golf Club in Orlando, and at the beautiful Horseshoe Bay Resort in Austin, Texas.
The Oklahoma organizers have even taken care of their home state, setting tournaments at the Duncan Golf and Tennis Club on April 17 and 18 and Shangri-La Golf Club in Afton on April 10-11.
And, probably one of the highlights will be the April 26 “John Daly Birthday Bash” at the Old Hickory Club in Nashville where the stars will come out to celebrate.
Organizers continue to add more tournaments as golf facilities jump on board.
The tournaments will continue through August with points given based on your finish. Then, from Oct. 25-30, 2021, the top 252 in each of the four divisions advance to the “Mo” Betta U.S. Championships at Paiute Golf Club in Las Vegas.
The winners of the four divisions will each receive $50,000 each.
“We’re going to have 36-72 golfers in each division at the various tournaments,” Daly said. “We have the Open Division which is a .9 or less handicap; A Division runs from 1.0 to 3.9; B Division includes golfers from 4 to 6.9 and C Division is for all golfers 7 and up.
“And, we aren’t forgetting the women, we welcome them as well. We know there are many female golfers coming out of college and this is a way they can keep their game sharp and make some money as they try to make their way to the LPGA Tour.”
Golfers will pay a yearly membership fee and when they enter tournaments, they will pay an additional fee that will help build the purse. Golfers can play as many tournaments as they wish.
Some golfers might be thinking, “will this affect my amateur standing?” Organizers added a clause in the rules to take care of that issue.
“If somebody wants to get involved but still wants to remain an amateur, we have it set up where they can donate their prize money to my ‘Heart of a Lion Foundation,’” Daly said. “That way they remain an amateur and help some great causes that we support.”
In addition to Tate, Nunn and Daly, the Tour features some prominent board members who have experience at the highest levels of the entertainment world.
Mick Weber has a Masters in Exercise Physiology from Oklahoma State University where he spent five years as the OSU strength coach, working with athletes like Barry Sanders and Nunn, who was a linebacker during that period.
Weber, though, is more well known for his time serving as road manager and personal assistant for the great entertainer Garth Brooks, who he grew up with in Yukon.
Don’t be fooled, though, because Weber knows the game of golf as he’s a Certified Titleist Performance Institute Level 2 Golf Fitness Trainer.
Two of Tate’s friends from the National Football League – longtime player and coach Jeff Zgonia and current Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive back Sidney Jones IV — are also on the board along with Ron Del Duca, a practicing attorney who has represented NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, former No. 1 tennis player Boris Becker and more than 150 NFL and NHL players.
“We think we have a great team and each of them brings something to the organization,” Tate said. “We think this is going to take off and become a very popular Tour for golfers who want to get out and see just how their game stacks up with other golfers and see if they can win some cash.”
One thing Tate won’t have to do is motivate Daly.
“Hey, I’ve been around Coach (Houston) Nutt and anyone who knows football knows he’s the greatest motivator around,” Daly said. “And I also am good friends with two other great motivators, Lou Holtz and John Gruden.”
Daly, who grew up in Arkansas and is a huge Razorbacks’ football fan, is currently excited about the progress Sam Pittman is making with the Hogs’ football program.
“Pittman is doing a helluva job, he’s going to get us back to where we need to be,” Daly said, his voice rising. When told Pittman was a native of Grove, Okla., he shot back, “hey, I don’t care where he’s from as long as he wins games.”
Daly is never one to be short of colorful comments and wildly-colored golf pants, and those are reasons why he’s the perfect fit for the “Mo” Betta team.
While he hopes to make some of the tournaments, he still has other business at hand, like making money on the Champions Tour, which like so many events are being affected by the COVID-19 virus.
“It is really strange out there without fans; it’s become a lonely game, but we’re still playing and getting used to it,” Daly said. “What else is better; drinking Diet Coke, smoking cigarettes and playing golf for money.”
Now his legion of amateur fans can do the same on the “Mo” Betta Golf Tour and maybe earn that trip to Las Vegas to compete for $50,000.
“You never know how good you are until you get out there and go against other golfers who have similar handicaps,” Daly said. “The first thing you must do is go on the Website and sign up for membership.”
After that, pick the tournaments you want to enter, then get ready for challenging courses and exciting golf.
Remember, though, the Diet Coke and cigarettes are optional, but having fun is mandatory, which is just what those Apache natives who came up with the idea demand.
You can contact Joey Goodman at firstname.lastname@example.org.