Stories abound at celebration of H.G. Weddington’s life

Hunter George Weddington, right, shakes hands with the great Spec Wilson before a match. Two of Mississippi's greatest amateur golfers ever.
Hunter George Weddington, right, shakes hands with the great Spec Wilson before a match. Two of Mississippi’s greatest amateur golfers ever.
Rick Cleveland
Rick Cleveland

Hundreds attended the funeral of Hall of Famer Hunter George Weddington Friday morning at First Presybterian Church in Meridian, including a virtual Who’s Who of Mississippi golf.

Earlier Friday, the funeral hearse, Weddington aboard,  made one last trip around the Northwood Country Club course Weddington played thousands of times.

It has been said that the best funerals are actually celebrations of deceased person’s life. This one was. So many more stories were told of H.G.’s golfing career before, during and after the services.

One I had never heard was this one of H.G. discussing his induction into the

H.G. Weddington: Straight down the middle.
H.G. Weddington: Straight down the middle.

Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

“I don’t know why they put me in that Hall of Fame,” Weddington once said. “Yeah, I won three State Amateur championships. On the other hand, I lost the other 53.”

Besides being a champion golfer, Weddington was a character.

He once beat the great amateur golf Billy Joe Patton in a prestigious amateur tournament in Kentucky. It was a huge upset. Patton had finished third in The Masters behind Sam Snead and Ben Hogan and had finished eighth in the U.S. Open. He was considered the best amateur golfer in America. Weddington beat him, sent him home.

Said Patton to Weddington, “You probably wouldn’t have beaten me if you had known who I was.”

Replied Weddington, “I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Back in Mississippi, I’ve got my share of press clippings, too.”

H.G. Weddington Mike Taylor
H.G. Weddington, standing at far left, with several of Mississippi’s golf luminaries, including Hall of Famers Mickey Bellande, Junie Hovious, Mike Taylor and Carl Walters.

H.G. Weddington was a competitor.

Six years ago, at the age of 92, Weddington teamed with son, Alex, to shot rounds of 66, 66, 66 in the State Father-Son Championship. The Weddingtons played three straight bogey-free rounds. Alex was 58 at the time. Their combined age was 150, by far the oldest in the tournament, and they played 54 holes without a single score worse than par.

“On the last hole of the tournament Dad hit one in water and I had to hit an 8-iron to the green over water to keep us bogey-free for the entire tournament,” Alex says. “Right before I hit it, Dad told me, ‘Son if you hit this in the water, I am going to disinherit you.’”

He didn’t.

Years ago, Alex played around with the great Gary Player in the pro-am of a

Sam Snead, far left, and H.G. Weddington played in an exhibition match at Northwood Country CLub.
Sam Snead, far left, and H.G. Weddington, far right, played in an exhibition match at Northwood Country Club.

Champions Tour Tournament. During the course of the round, Player mentioned that he had made 25 holes in one and said, “I’ll bet you don’t know anyone who has made 25 holes in one, do you?”

Alex sheepishly admitted that, “Well, yes, actually I do.”

“Who?”

“Well my father has made 29,” Alex replied.

“Get him on the phone,” Player said.

Alex did.

“This is Gary Player,” Player said.

“Who?” H.G. asked.

“Gary Player. Some say I am the best golfer to ever come out of South Africa.”

Said H.G., “Well, this is Hunter George Weddington, I’m a pretty fair player in Mississippi.”

H.G. was that.

He won nearly 100 tournaments. He played on the very first golf team at Ole Miss and never lost a college match.

Said Alex, “He loved golf. What he loved most about golf was that, as he always said, ‘You can play golf from the cradle to the grave.’”

And that’s pretty much what Hunter George Weddington did.

•••

Donations in H.G. Weddington’s name can be made to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. He was our oldest living Hall of Famer, and he will be missed. Click on the donate button at the top of the page or send donations to 1152 Lakeland Drive, Jackson, MS 39216.

Hunter George Weddington drives off the third tee at his beloved Northwood Country Club during a match in 1952 Northwood Invitational. It was one of Weddington's six victories in the prestigious tournament.
Hunter George Weddington drives off the third tee at his beloved Northwood Country Club during a match in 1952 Northwood Invitational. It was one of Weddington’s six victories in the prestigious tournament.

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