A few nights ago, Tim Fisher was doing some coyote hunting.
In a few weeks, he will be in the hunt for another golf title at the West Virginia State Amateur Tournament.
Yes, Fisher is about to make his come back. He's been out of the mix the last three years while serving suspensions handed down by the West Virginia Golf Association.
Fisher, a former Ripley High and Glenville State College golfing great, was hit with a suspension by the WVGA in August of 2010 because he withdrew from the U.S. Public Links Championships in North Carolina. He did so in order to play in the West Virginia Open – another WVGA event. The United States Golf Association cited Fisher for not giving proper notification and the WVGA did the same.
After a year, Fisher was about to go back into WVGA competition when the organization issued another suspension for a breach of its code of conduct.
Fortunately, all that is now behind the personable Fisher, who is a three-time winner of the prestigious State Am. He has a lifetime exemption to the four-day tournament that will unfold on both the Old White TPC Course and the Greenbrier Course August 5-8 at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.
He can't think of a better way to make his return to WVGA competition than in the State Amateur. He's been away and used the time to keep playing and do a lot of thinking.
"It (the suspension) wasn't as bad as I thought," said Fisher. "It was kind of a pleasant surprise (that he handled it so well)."
Nevertheless, the suspensions were tough pills to swallow.
"It caught me by surprise," said the former Ripley High and Glenville State College standout. "I didn't agree with it, but I just took it on the chin and moved on."
Fisher, who has also won a pair of Four-Ball titles as a WVGA competitor, said he did other things during the period in which he was sequestered from the highest level of golf in the state.
"I wasn't constantly worried about getting ready (for the next tournament)," said the Sandyville resident who claimed the 2005, 2008 and 2009 State Am championships. "I wasn't having to make travel arrangements. I took a family vacation. I hadn't been able to do that for a long time. Really since 1998 (when he was a senior at Ripley and the Class AAA individual champion), my whole life has been wrapped up in golf."
While he was forbidden from entering WVGA action on the links, Fisher took part in other tournaments at various county clubs to keep his competitive edge.
One event was the Marcus McPhail Memorial Tournament. "That was a little rough," said Fisher, who spent many hours on various courses with the former Ripley High football and baseball coach. McPhail, one of Ripley High's all-time greatest athletes who later started for four years as Glenville State's quarterback, died on New Year's Eve Day in 2011. "I was with him the night before and was supposed to be with him that day."
Page 2 of 2 - Fisher learned plenty playing golf with a great competitor like McPhail.
Now, he's ready to resume being one of the better players on the WVGA circuit.
"I like winning tournaments," said Fisher, who still works for Verizon. "I'm ready to come back and play. I've got a little chip on my shoulder. Not in a bad way, but I just want to show I'm back. I've got a few more weeks to get ready and I've just got to keep practicing and practicing."
WVGA Executive Director Ken Tackett is glad to have a player of Fisher's caliber returning to the the field for upcoming WVGA events. "We're happy to get him back," Tackett told The Charleston Gazette. "We hope his golf speaks for itself. It makes your State Amateur the best when you have the best players playing."
Tim Fisher has certainly proven to be one of West Virginia's best in the past decade.
"I can't wait to get going," he said.
He's ready to hunt down another beautiful State Amateur trophy and add it to his collection.