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May 25, 2016

John DalCorobbo

Benton Harbor, Michigan

BOB DENNEY: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2016 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. I'm Bob Denney, the PGA of America Historian and welcome to the 77th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. It's our pleasure to open up this week's get to know our players and interviews with John Dal Corobbo who is the reigning Senior PGA Professional Champion. John is coming in from Speedway, Indiana. And if anybody knows anything about other sports than golf, you'll know how busy this week is in Indiana, especially in Indianapolis.

John, welcome to the championship. Just give us a view first of all about what it's taken for you to get this time devoted to playing this championship.

JOHN DALCOROBBO: Thanks, Bob. Yeah, I work with a special group of people at the Brickyard Crossing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to give me time and during the season and especially this week, which obviously the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, pretty good week. But, my boss, Jeff Williams and Brickyard Crossing staff, the Hulman-George family just wonderful to be able to let me come and participate in such a great event.

BOB DENNEY: John's one of 43 PGA club pros in this championship and talk a little bit about the journey to get to the level where you won the championship last fall in Seaside, California.

JOHN DALCOROBBO: Well, one of my good friends just told me that maybe I'm just stubborn enough to try and get better all the time. It's, I've been fortunate enough to be at some great places that have allowed me to continue to work on my game and continue to be better. I can't thank my wife enough, Melissa, she's been there, we just had our 20th wedding anniversary, I've got three kids in high school, so our life is quite busy. But it's just a constant just trying to get better.

Conversation coming in this morning is, I really love the game and the older that I get, the more I appreciate how much it means, how much I enjoy it, how much practice and playing is just a wonderful thing for me. So, it's been a great time.

BOB DENNEY: Open it up to questions.

Q. So last week I would imagine you're teaching lessons, running events, whatever. Now, here you are trying to grind against the best players out there. How do you make that transition from one to the other?
JOHN DALCOROBBO: Yeah, that's a great question. You just, I think, you have to have wonderful acceptance of whatever skill set that you have for the week. Obviously the weather in Indianapolis in the Midwest has not been ultimately conducive to playing and practicing. I've had numerous rounds of golf and practice sessions in what I call wet suits, just full rain gear. So, you just come and have great acceptance and do the things that you do and try to shoot the lowest round you can. Obviously it's such a wonderful event, but it comes at a time of year for certain club professionals it's a good time of year and certain club professionals it's a bad time of year.

And it's, I wouldn't say it's the best time of year for me. But it's part of it. You have to accept it, you have to embrace it, you have to just go out and enjoy hitting the first tee shot and -- last year at French Lick it was kind of the same thing for me though. So you just, you hit the first shot, let's get that done and then it's another round of golf and let's just go play. It just happens to be a really good golf course with some other really good players. So, it will be fun. It will be fun.

Q. Can you just give us your impressions on the course?
JOHN DALCOROBBO: You know I truly we came up in the middle of April and we played 36 holes and I from the very first tee shot to the last green on 18 I truly enjoyed it. The green complexes remind me of the Brickyard Crossing, just smaller. And that was my very first comment when we hit the tee shot on 1 and then got to the first green I go, wow, this looks just like the Brickyard, just smaller.

So, that's maybe a good thing that I've seen the green complexes and breaks similar to this. But I think it's a championship caliber golf course and the champion from this week will obviously have played the golf course the best. You have to be super precise with what you do with your second shot. And then if you do miss you better be really good with the putter, you're going to have to make some 10 to 15-footers if you get it on the wrong side of the hole. And you're going hit some really good short game shots. So it will be a wonderful test for everyone in the field.

BOB DENNEY: Could you go over a little bit about the amount of activity that's going on at the golf course Brickyard Crossing this week. Leading up to the race itself, but just you get a lot of heavy play.

JOHN DALCOROBBO: Yeah, we do probably 225 to 250 a day. Of players. It's a big week for us. Obviously last week was qualifying, James Hinchcliffe, who actually holds the pole for the 100th running for the Indianapolis 500, it's kind of interesting, two weeks ago his dad came out and played and we had a wonderful conversation. So -- and I saw Mr. Hinchcliffe downtown in Speedway one night. But we're super busy and it's amazing that people that come through. Chevy, Honda, Firestone, Bridgestone people, but every day is just an, it's a great experience with people coming in to the Brickyard Crossing and Indianapolis Motor Speedway from all over the world to play our golf course, to play the golf course with cars on the track.

One of the greatest experiences I think any player could have or any person who plays golf is to play the Brickyard Crossing during Happy Hour and Happy Hour is actually from five to six, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, getting ready for pole day. And you'll have 33 cars on the track all positioning themselves working on the different aerodynamic kits and working on the passing and it's just, it's really great. We have been super busy. Obviously, Friday is Carb Day, Journey concert at the IMS, and that morning is completely booked from 7 to 2.

Saturday is Legends Day, Blake Shelton concert at the IMS and it's another 200 player day starting at 7 and then obviously we're closed on race day. So, I'll be back to work on Tuesday trying to pick up the pieces. It will be great.

Q. Reflecting back to last October at Bayonet Black Horse, how did that victory, I know it was your first national championship, but how has it changed things for you as a PGA professional?
JOHN DALCOROBBO: Yeah, that's wonderful. I think it's the recognition of years and years and years of playing golf. Each day out in California you get done, you look at the leaderboard, you get done you look at the leaderboard and then after the last round or third round I'm like, I'm okay, I played all right, and then I looked at the leaderboard and now I'm in the last group. I think it gives you an internal awareness that, as a club professional, you can handle extreme tension, nervousness in that situation for the entire day and then at the end it's just a tremendous sense that every ball that you've hit and every lesson that you've given, that everything you've ever done in the game is well worth it for looking at the picture, holding up the trophy, looking at the trophy on the mantle every day, those are great things and great memories.

So, I think what it does, it just gives you internal, I don't know, gratitude and happiness that you can play in a situation like that and then also you can, you know that your name will be on a trophy forever and that's a really nice thing. Really nice thing.

Q. Could you just tell us a little bit about your Michigan ties. I believe I read that your parents met in East Lansing, is that right?
JOHN DALCOROBBO: Yeah, my mom was born in Coleman, Michigan which is outside of Mount Pleasant. And then my dad was an Evans Scholar caddied at the Glen View Club in Chicago. Went to the University of Illinois as an Evans Scholar. Was in the ROTC and then did his army stint. And then followed his mentor to Michigan State for electrical engineering and then that's when he met my mom. She actually fell asleep in his class and then that's how they started dating.

So, my dad went to Harvard Business School and then my mom was adamant that she was not going to raise kids in cold climates. So that's when they moved to Pasadena and I was born and raised in South Pasadena, California.

So it's kind of a weird story and then obviously lo and behold I got done playing the web.com and then ran out of money in 1995. I missed getting out of second stage by a shot, sent out 42 resumes and had two interviews and one was at Walnut Hills in East Lansing, Michigan. And then the following year Michigan State was looking for an assistant golf coach and I wasn't hired for that position, but they created a teaching position at the university at the golf course and I was there for 11 years. And it was a truly wonderful time.

So many interesting story lines there with being at Michigan State with my parents as alumnus of the university, and then obviously now tying that into being at the Brickyard where my wife's family has a long rich tradition. It's great. It's really wonderful. Thank you.

BOB DENNEY: We don't keep records on these things but you got to feel that you're one of the few whose been a Teacher Of The Year and a Player of the Year in two different sections, which is Indiana and Michigan. So that's great.

JOHN DALCOROBBO: Yeah, maybe just means I've been doing it a long time.


No, I've always played and I've always taught. I think that one of the joys I think of teaching is watching the success of players, students, everyone that you work with get better. And then the playing aspect is has been important. I did grow up in south Pasadena and one of the wonderful things about last night at the Champions Dinner is I got to spend some time with Pat Rielly, a Past President of the PGA and I worked at Annandale Golf Club, so I got to see the PGA of America at a young age and I think that Pat has had a huge influence on me. When I was in college, coming back and talking to Mr. Rielly about thinking about getting into the business and he said, well, I think that would be a wonderful thing, John, but just remember that keep up your playing skills. I think I was 20 years old at the time and he said you know there's a wonderful opportunity for you to better yourself, your branding, and financially if you work on your game and that stuck. I reminded him that him and his wife Sue of that last night. So. Good.

BOB DENNEY: Questions?

Q. As a club professional, tell me a little bit about just your experience of the week. I'm thinking it's got to be pretty cool to tell your teenage kids, yeah, dad had a press conference today.
JOHN DALCOROBBO: Yeah, they, at times I think they just take it for granted. I remember when the twins were old enough and the kids were old enough I would play a golf tournament and in I didn't come home with a trophy they wouldn't understand what was going on. But I think last year at French Lick they got the full affect. My oldest son is actually, he's going to be just finishing his sophomore year, in fact, he has to take three finals today to be able to get up here tonight.

But for them to go around and meet everyone and do that, it's great for me, it's great for them. That was the one thing I always wanted them to experience is that dad is an okay player and this is one of the benefits of it. So, it's a tremendous experience. I can't wait for them to get up here. When you're a parent and a husband, you miss your kids, you miss your wife, it's a lot of Facetime at night, but it's been a busy week for me fulfilling the obligations of the past champion of the Senior PNC which is wonderful. Doing press conferences, going to Champion's Dinners, I'm going to embrace that. That's part of the week. You just -- and then tomorrow 9:10 a.m. let's go try to see what John Dal Corobbo can do and have my kids watch and have my wife be there and go have them go through the internal ups and downs that I do every day. So, it will be fun.

BOB DENNEY: John Dal Corobbo, welcome back to the Senior PGA Championship. Have great week.

JOHN DALCOROBBO: Thank you, Bob.

BOB DENNEY: Thank you.

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