Nine Holes with a Georgia Champion

Feb, 15 2023

Nine Holes with a Georgia Champion

Hole 1 - When did you start playing golf and what was the name of your first “home” course?

I started playing golf at age 12. My home course was Athens Country Club, Athens, Ga.

Hole 2 - Who was your first golf mentor or golf instructor and what is the best tip you learned from him/her?

My first teachers were my Dad and Grandfather (Big Papa). They were both very good golfers. After a year or so, I went to see Melvin Hemphill in Aiken, S.C. He taught me how to draw the ball for distance. Very important to add some yards for someone who weighed about 100 lbs. I continued to hit a draw the rest of my career.

Hole 3 - Who is your golf hero and have you ever met him/her? If so, what were the circumstances?

I've always liked Jay Haas. I first met Jay when my brother was being recruited at Wake Forest. Later when we were both on our respective tours, I asked him to play in the Mixed-Team event. He turned me down saying he was already committed to playing with Hollis Stacy.....Can't say I blame him!

Hole 4 - How many holes-in-one? How many double eagles? Lowest 18-hole score?

I have had 2 holes-in-one. But I holed out a 5-wood on the 18th hole for an eagle to make the cut at the U. S. Open.

Hole 5 - Who is the best player you have ever played with and what do you remember most about that round?

I played with Nancy Lopez when I was an amateur and she was on the Tour. I remember she was very nice and made me feel very comfortable.

Hole 6 - Looking back, to make you a better player, please explain one different approach you would take regarding your practice, mental prep, course management, score?

Perhaps I would have done some weight lifting or strength training ..... no one did this back then, but it could have helped me hit the ball farther.

Hole 7 - What has been your most embarrassing moment on a golf course that you are willing to share?

My brother Griff, who was a great player, caddied for me in the State Amateur in Atlanta. I left the ball in the bunker a couple of times and he told me next time I hit it in the bunker I was gonna take an unplayable and take a drop.

Hole 8 - Suppose you were down to the last hole of your golf career, which hole would you want to play and why?

I would play hole number 1 at the Athens Country Club. It's my favorite course and have many good memories from that place.

Hole 9 - What is your most meaningful tournament win and why?

I won the National Championship my Senior year at UGA. Obviously it was the biggest tournament I ever won, but it was also the first time my brother watched me play in college. I missed a 3-foot putt to win outright on the last hole. I won the three hole playoff against Patti Rizzo. It made the win even sweeter!

Honored to be endorsed by the Georgia State Golf Association.

“The GSGA applauds the efforts of Joey Kaney to highlight the wonderful accomplishments of so many golfers from around the state through his Mr. Stat website. More importantly, we appreciate Mr. Kaney’s interest and desire to preserve tournament results and records which showcase Georgia’s rich history in the game of golf.” ———-——- Matt Vanderpool - Chief Executive Officer - Georgia State Golf Association

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