By Chris King
It was August of 1997 and Wayne Faulkner was in Myrtle Beach for his first World Amateur Handicap Championship.
He had seen the tournament advertised in magazines and always wanted to play. The Minnesota native convinced his wife, Cindy, they’d meet people and have a good time, so they took the plunge.
By the time Faulkner arrived at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for check-in, he was, understandably, nervous but fate quickly intervened. The Faulkners almost immediately struck up a conversation in the registration line with Paul and Debbie Titus, a Canadian couple that had been coming to the event since 1992.
(For you newbies, there was a time when technology didn’t allow for an efficient, multi-day registration process. Everyone used to stand in line on Sunday, a lengthy endeavor for all involved.)
As the conversation seemingly neared its end, Wayne asked Paul if he’d like to grab a pre-tournament beer so he could pick his brain about what to expect. He gladly accepted, beginning a friendship that endures 22 years later.
In 2019 and the couples continue to meet for registration, with the only difference being they now see each other on a semi-regular basis throughout the year.
The Faulkners have traveled to Ontario for get-togethers and Paul and Debbie have returned the favor, making the trek to Minnesota. They also visit during the winter months in Florida, providing both couples respite from the harsh northern weather.
Their circle of friends has grown through the years (and unfortunately contracted as some have passed away), but the relationship between the Faulkners and Tituses has remained strong.
They’ve shared countless good times, though neither Wayne nor Paul has ever tasted victory at the World Am (Wayne has finished as high as 2nd, Paul 5th). For these now longtime friends, where they finish is a secondary consideration.
“I thought I was coming for the golf but I actually come for the people,” Wayne said of his tournament experience. “The convention center is great and you meet lifelong friends.”