Long-time teammates Gary Wigington and Randy Reaves said it loudly and clearly this past weekend.
It wasn’t just that they won their fifth Sunny King Charity Classic as a tandem, tying the record set by Patrick Cushman and Eric Hamilton.
It wasn’t so much all the dramatic shots Wigington and Reaves hit when they had to have them, though there were plenty of those, including Wigington’s 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to avert a playoff.
It’s that two guys in their 40s, who have played together since they were kids, who have played in the Sunny King as a tandem since Bill Clinton was president and who hadn’t won in five years, found a way to win again.
Their first Sunny King victory in five years came five years after their last first Sunny King victory in five years, and they did it against what most Sunny King watchers consider the strongest field in the tournament’s 34-year history.
It was two guys who keep scratching and clawing around the top, besting a field with 18 scratch golfers.
It was two guys who can’t seem to play their way out of the conversation of top Sunny King teams edging four-time winners Jaylon Ellison and Jeremy McGatha, who set the tourney’s scoring record a year ago.
It was mainstays scoring a one-stroke victory over a new super team of Pine Hill pro Cory Etter and Marcus Harrell, the latter having previously formed a super team with with Ott Chandler, who once teamed with Gary Wilburn to dominate this tournament.
Yes, organizers keep having Sunny King Charity Classics.
New teams come and go.
Older players with enduring short games keep finding ways to team with younger, long hitters.
Wigington, 43, and Reaves, 44, just keep going, winning in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007 and this year, and the neat thing?
They can’t see it happening any other way.
“We like playing with each other, and we’re always going to play with each other,” Wigington said.
Wigington and Reaves grew up together in the Indian Oaks neighborhood. They played together at Saks High School together and Jacksonville State University.
That’s not to say teams have to play together so long to click, but teams that have played together as long as Wigington and Reaves obviously do.
“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and we try to exploit that,” Reaves said, “but it just goes back to being so comfortable with each other.
“We’ve grown up together. We never fight. We never argue. It’s just a situation where, no matter how bad I’m playing --- and there are times when Gary might not be playing well --- we don’t get down on each other.”
Wigington-Reaves entered Sunday tied for second, one shot back of the much younger tandem of Brennan Clay and Dan Glidewell.
It’s wasn’t like Clay-Glidewell blew it. They finished third, two shots back.
But here came the Men in Pink, playing in the same foursome. They served notice right away, birdieing No. 1 on the strength of Wigington’s long drive.
Suddenly, the tournament was tied.
Wigington-Reaves came up with big shots, like Reaves’ 30-foot birdie putt on No. 11, right after Harrell sank an eagle putt on the same hole.
Wigington-Reaves was down a stroke headed into No. 15, and Wigington upped from about 100 yards to the lip of the cup and tapped in for birdie.
Reaves is normally the putter between the two, but Wigington delivered the clinching putt to cheers from the gallery at Anniston Country Club.
Reaves, who also won the Sunny King with Jeff Russell in 1997, joked that he was “riding Secretariat” this past weekend.
Funny thing about Secretariat. The Triple Crown winner’s feats in horse racing stand the test of time.
Through modern technology, it was recently discovered that he actually set the Preakness race time record, way back in 1973. Add that record to his long-standing records in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.
Add another Sunny King victory for Wigington-Reaves, still together and playing at a high level all of these years.
Do we hear talk of No. 6 next year?
Well, not from Wigington-Reaves.
“We’re getting old, so we might not have a chance to win another one,” Wigington said. “But it was good to do it one more time, anyway.”
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. He can be reached at 256-235-3576 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @jmedley_star.