By Joe Medley
It’s been a while since Patrick Cushman and then-playing partner Eric Hamilton went on their record-setting run of five SKCC championships in six years, that last coming in 1999.
It’s been a while since Cushman served on the tournament committee. He hasn’t lived in Calhoun County since 2010, when he became Southern States Bank’s president for Jefferson and Shelby counties.
But if organizers started a Sunny King Charity Classic hall of fame, Cushman would have to be in the first class for his contributions as a player and organizer. And like so many people who have lived the Sunny King, he loves it and keeps coming back from Mountain Brook to play with current playing partner Hank Smith.
“Anniston is home to me, and, obviously, it’s a good opportunity to come home and, first and foremost, spend a weekend with Hank and enjoy playing golf with him,” Cushman said. “But I also get to see a lot of good friends that I’ve had in that area for years.
“And it’s a great tournament for a great cause and just always a lot of fun.”
Only Gary Wigington and Randy Reaves have won as many Sunny Kings, tying Cushman-Hamilton’s record in 2012. Cushman-Hamilton’s nine-stroke victory in 1996 stands as a tournament record.
But Cushman also served as the Greater Anniston Business & Professional Association treasurer for 10 years. The association presents the tournament, so he was in position to have a hand in many accomplishments.
“More than anything, just setting the bar higher to raise more money, working with new and different sponsors to try to get them involved in the tournament and, really, just the challenge of trying to make the tournament bigger and better,” Cushman said. “And not for any good for GAPBA, but so we could get more money to the charities.”
He has a deep reservoir of memories from participating in Sunny King, including holing a 120-yard wedge shot.
“My best memories are just getting to play with a lot of different people in different groups and just having fun and spending quality time with all of those folks,” Cushman said. “As long as Hank will have me, it’s something that I mark on my calendar every year.
“I believe in the tournament. I believe in the cause. It’s just been a big part of what I’ve done for a long time.”
PROFILE: Patrick Cushman
Residence: Mountain Brook
Occupation: President of Jefferson and Shelby counties for Southern States Bank.
SKCC Role: Five-time champion with playing partner Eric Hamilton in the 1990s, 21st-year player, former tournament committee member.
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.