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July 30, 2008

Dale Douglass


RAND JERRIS: It is a pleasure to welcome Dale Douglass to the interview room. He's a former champion, having won the U.S. Senior Open in '86. He's playing in his 23rd U.S. Senior Open this year at the Broadmoor. It's the most of any player in the field, and at age 72, he's also the oldest player in the field.
Dale, with all of your experience playing in this championship for two decades, tell us a little bit about what this championship has meant for you through the years and how you've seen it grown and develop.
DALE DOUGLASS: It's probably the most important event that I was privileged to win, and it's been an honor to play in 23 of these events. The National Championship holds a very special place in I think all of our minds and hearts, all the people who are trying to play golf and win this, it's really important to us to win a tournament of this caliber.
When I won in 1986, it was my first year on the tour.
RAND JERRIS: And as I'm sure all of you know, when you're 50 years old, when you're just a young 50 years old, you have a big advantage over the rest of the field. And that diminishes each year as you progress, and I've been fortunate enough to stay healthy and be able to play.
Actually I think Arnold holds the record for number of times. I'm chasing Arnold Palmer. This really hasn't been my goal in life to play in more of these than him. There's some of his records that I would have preferred to have challenged, but anyway, it's nice to have played this many tournaments, Opens.
RAND JERRIS: Now you played here at the Broadmoor in the 1959 U.S. Amateur. It was, of course, won by Jack Nicklaus.
DALE DOUGLASS: Who? (Laughs).
RAND JERRIS: He used to play on the Seniors Tour.
DALE DOUGLASS: Jack Nicklaus. I've told some of you this. I lost my match, second or third round, second round maybe, to a guy from Des Moines, Iowa named Orville Goens. Now, the significance of that is there's two. One, had I beaten him. I would have played Jack the next day, which potentially could have changed the course of history. Instead, I lost to Orville Goens who whiffed when he putted. Nothing I'd ever heard before. But anyway, that's the way that went, '59. But I enjoyed being here for that event also.
RAND JERRIS: Talk a little bit about the golf course. You've played some practice rounds in the last couple of days. What do you see out there, and what are you anticipating against the championship tomorrow.
DALE DOUGLASS: Well, the golf course is in beautiful shape. I'm sure everybody's told you that. The greens are quite fast. I think some of the members will tell you they're not as fast as when they play here. I don't know about that, but they're pretty quick, and there are some places if you don't hit the ball on the right line with the right speed, you may be chipping, or you may be putting from a longer distance, or you may have the same putt you just got through trying.
Anyway, there are lots of things to consider. Everybody is going to try to hit the ball where they're putting uphill, on to the green where they're putting uphill. That's easier said than done, but that's what we'll be trying to do.
RAND JERRIS: We'll take some questions from the floor, please.

Q. I know you haven't gotten to play much in Colorado, just because there hasn't been an event here. What does it mean to you for the first time, since the last Senior Open to play in your home state?
DALE DOUGLASS: Well, it's really fun. I have some family here. I have lots of friends who have promised to come down and watch me play. And I know that when we played the 1993 Senior Open at Cherry Hills, that was really a thrill. I was able to actually contend in that event. Once again, that other guy won that won in '59 here.
But it's really a special thing to be playing in your home state with friends around.

Q. Dale, what are you hearing from other players about the heat and the sun and the elevation? You look in great shape, but it might affect some guys.
DALE DOUGLASS: Well, I'm breathing heavy when I get to some of those greens where you're walking uphill, but I think most of these guys are in pretty good shape. A lot of them will use golf carts in regular events, but most of the guys who do that aren't in the carts very often. They might be going from green-to-tee, rather than walking the entire course or an entire hole. I know that's what I did.
So they're in pretty good shape. And the altitude, I don't know whether if it makes you tired or makes you sleepy or whatever. You can't go to sleep playing the game, you know. That's a dangerous thing.
But somebody asked me the other day, what percentage do I use to choose clubs, and I said I use 10 percent because it's easier than 9 or 11; the math is easier.
Anyway, I think that since I play at Castle Pines, the altitude is very similar, I should have an advantage there. I don't know if I do or not.

Q. Dale, you've gone all these years without being drug tested in golf. They're going to be starting it up. Does it offend you at all, or is it just something that you kind of see as part of the evolution of the game?
DALE DOUGLASS: Does what offend me?

Q. The start of drug testing on the Champions Tour.
DALE DOUGLASS: Oh, drug testing. I hadn't thought about that. I have no fear. (Laughs). But then, you know, that may be due to ignorance. I don't know.
The drug testing, that's kind of a shame, isn't it? In general, it's kind of a shame, not just in our sport, but in all sports that we would need to do something like that. That's about my only thought about that.
I feel like players on both the regular tour and our tour and the Nationwide, I don't think there's any problem. It's hard to play golf if you're not pretty alert. Since I don't know much about that stuff, I don't know whether that makes you alert or not. So anyway.

Q. When you were announced as the oldest player in this event, you kind of dropped your head.
DALE DOUGLASS: I was hoping Gary Player is here because he's older than I am, see, but when he doesn't show, it's me.

Q. Is there anything you enjoy more about being 72, than about being 50? I mean, is there any advantage to being 72, as opposed to 50?
DALE DOUGLASS: Well, you might think you might know more at 72 than younger age. But the fact is that you've forgotten more. And that evens it out, so you don't have an advantage of wisdom. It doesn't bother me. I'm very fortunate to be healthy and able to play and able to walk this golf course at 72. Hopefully I will play well.

Q. Dale, do you have to finish at a certain level to play in this tournament again or where do we stand on that?
DALE DOUGLASS: Well, presently, in this event until they change the rule, I'm an exempt player in the Open. So I have to finish well in this event for personal satisfaction.

Q. Dale, golf uniforms or what people wear on the course have kind of changed over the years. When you look back at some of the stuff you guys used to wear in the 70s or earlier, is it kind of goofy or how would you classify it?
DALE DOUGLASS: You'd have been wearing them, too, if you were alive then, which you weren't. (Laughs). No. You've seen Johnny Miller with a white belt like this and striped pants playing the U.S. Open someplace.
No, that's just what we wore. This is pretty flashy right now, don't you think? I have long pants on, so -- no, golf style has always been a little different than what you see the average person walking around. But it's the fact that it was wild and wooly in the old days, it probably wasn't that wild and wooly to everybody's sensibilities. Right now you wonder why in the world would you go outside looking like that. But that's what we did.

Q. Dale, we had Mark Wiebe in here before, and his game went south for five or six years. Do you have a lot -- I mean with his colleagues and contemporaries, is there some kind of compassion for a guy when you see a guy struggle like that, and then you know, a lot of congratulations when he gets it back.
DALE DOUGLASS: Well, that comment, what is it, I resemble that remark? I had a serious problem with my game on the regular tour, and I had an automobile wreck. And that's a long story, but I was not very good for a long time, physically. And then mentally I lost all my confidence.
So I went through a very slow period, you might say, on the regular tour. Fortunately I was an exempt player, so I could kind of stagger along.
I was trying to get my confidence back, my game back when the senior tour came along, and so I was ready to play. Mark Wiebe, I think, is probably in the same boat. When you come out here at 50, you look around, you say, this looks really good, you know. And that's the way it is. Everybody who's 50 has an advantage, and another one I can name is Gary Hallberg, who the last two or three weeks has really done well. Gary's golf game hasn't been real swift for a while, but there's a rejuvenation out here because you're not intimidated when you're 50. You're not intimidated by any of the other players because you hit it further and straighter and you putt better.
When you look back at the other tour, everybody out there hits it as far as you do and as straight as you do and putts as well as you do, and you don't know their names. So all these guys who come to our tour, they look around, they look at the practice tee, and they know everybody who's practicing in the senior event.
The regular tour event they just left, they didn't know any of those guys. That's the way it is. It's okay.

Q. There's like nine guys with Colorado ties in the field. Is there some kind of camaraderie out there?
DALE DOUGLASS: Well, I would think so. I would think everybody in Colorado should be happy that we have so many representatives from this state. And someone like Hale Irwin who has won -- how many of us have won this, since we're talking about us? Hale has won this and I've won it. Anybody else from Colorado? I don't guess so. Well, we could have a new Colorado champion here this week.
RAND JERRIS: Well, Dale, thank you very much for your time, and we wish you lots of luck this week.

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