June 17, 2021

David Graham - Part 2 (The Major Championships)

David Graham - Part 2 (The Major Championships)

World Golf Hall of Fame member and two-time major winner, David Graham recalls the most memorable of his 37 professional wins including his first on the PGA Tour, a playoff victory over, none other than, Bruce Devlin. He looks back on the days of chauffeur-driven Rolls Royces at the Piccadilly World Match Play at Wentworth and teaming up with Bruce for a World Cup win in Argentina, representing Australia. 

Re-live the 1979 PGA Championship, won in a playoff with Ben Crenshaw after doubling the last for a 65 and winning the 1981 U.S. Open at Merion, 40 years ago, with a final round that is regarded by some as one of the finest ball-striking exhibitions ever on the last day of a Major Championship. David Graham reflects on a superb career in golf, "FORE the Good of the Game."

Transcript
Music playing:

Intro music

Mike Gonzalez:

Just talking at a high level about David Graham's career, 37 professional wins, including eight PGA Tour victories. Nine wins on the Australasian tour, five Senior PGA Tour wins, we'll get into all that. But one thing I didn't know in doing a little bit of research was the fact that David Graham is one of only just a few that have won on six continents. And those others were Gary Player, Justin Rose, Bernard Langer and Hale Irwin. So only five...

Bruce Devlin:

That's a pretty good group!

Mike Gonzalez:

And so it wasn't just the American tour, you're playing all over?

David Graham:

Well, you had to I mean, you know, tournaments, like the South African Open, you know, Gary Player would solicit people to come and play in their tournaments, the Japanese PGA and the Golf Association would solicit players to come and play and you, you were in those days considered an international player. And, and so you played internationally and I think in those days, it was fun to do, you know, and I liked it. I mean, I went to South Africa twice as Gary Player's guest and I think I played in either the first or the second million dollar tournament, that was down there. And that was a very controversial scenario, because of the apartheid I mean I got, I got ridiculed for doing that. And you know, they canceled, you know, the Australians going to the Olympics, and all that was a mess in those days. And the guy _________ that, that built Sun City, he couldn't get any entertainers to go because the unions would threaten if like Frank Sinatra, went or Dean Martin went to the unions would go on strike and, and they would come back to California and not get employment and stuff like that. And Gary Player was insistent on breaking those barriers. And he, he asked people to go when I I said, one day, yeah, I'm in I'm going. And my wife and I went and as it turns out, we left out of Miami, and we sat up in the front cabin, and right next to us was Liberace and his companion, and we finished up going to a beautiful black tie dinner. And we watched him perform and, and it was great. And it was actually turned out to be my wife's birthday. So Liberace called my wife up on the stage andshe sat down on a piano and he played a few tunes and he said, I'll, I'll give you the signed copy of my book, if you just give me a little peck on the cheek. And he said, I'll give you my scarf. You know, my Chanel scarf if you just give me another little peck on the cheek and, and then they danced together. And it was really cool.

Mike Gonzalez:

Well, you mentioned the apartheid era and I remember hearing Gary Player recently because Lee Elder was part of the honorary starter ceremony at the Masters on that Thursday, this past weekend, and Gary talking about what it was like just bring in Lee Elder over to South Africa. Oh, sure. Yeah. Yeah. You talk about pioneer. Yeah.

David Graham:

So and to his credit, I mean, I can remember playing the Australian Open I think at the Australian Golf Club, and he and I were tied for the lead. On Sunday morning and the headlines in the paper were "You will get shot today." Lovely. Right on the front page of whatever newpaper and Gary Player says "I don't care I'm playing and they booed and hissed and booed and hissed ladies with babies on their back and painted the greens, remember they whitewashed all the greens and, it was a mess. Fortunately, we're long past that.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah, well, let' s turn to something more positive, including career highlights. I'm sure you look upon the two major wins as significant highlights of your career the 1979 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills and the 1981 US Open Championship at Merion. We'll get to all that. But I thought it might be fun just to reminisce about some of the other PGA Tour wins you had.

Bruce Devlin:

Don't you bring that up!

Mike Gonzalez:

Let's talk about the 1972 Cleveland Open. What do you guys remember about that one?Tanglewood Country Club yeah?

David Graham:

Well, what I remember the most about that was the joke Bruce Devlin told that night to my wife.

Bruce Devlin:

Was it a bad joke?

David Graham:

The broccolli joke.

Bruce Devlin:

Oh, yeah.

Mike Gonzalez:

Can we say that one. We'll put that one on our blooper reel.

David Graham:

Yeah, well What I remember most about it, and I actually remember a lot of people saying that Bruce missed that putt intentionally.

Bruce Devlin:

Correct.

David Graham:

And I would never have respected him the way I do if that was the case. But I remember that was Tanglewood, and that golf course was in horrific conditions. And they'd lost the greens and they tried to recover the greens. And I mean, putting was like, just was very difficult. And and I don't know how we finished up tying and I don't know, we second hole second hole. Yeah. Anyway, that was that was, you know, a career change for me because all of a sudden, I bolted into an exempt status, which was great, which was huge. Yeah. And I remember that night going to the airport, and I finished up having to fly to London that night, to play in a corporate deal. It might have been the week of the Piccadilly. I'm not sure. But I had to play in a corporate deal the next day in London

Bruce Devlin:

For a little cash, I hope .

David Graham:

Maybe. Yeah. So I remember that. Yeah, that was good.

Mike Gonzalez:

Well, that came up at breakfast this morning about, you know, the fact that there was, well, you know, maybe Bruce actually missing the putt on purpose, you know, so his little brother could have success.

Bruce Devlin:

That was pretty nasty. Actually, when you think about that, guys were, you know, they were actually thinking that I, you know, laid down for him to win. And that's, you know, we've always said that to one another, you know, we stand on the first team put the peg in the ground, whether it's David Graham, or Lee Trevino, or Jack Nicklaus is, you know, bring your game because I'm about to whoop your butt. You know,

David Graham:

But those greens were so bad, though. That from two feet you weren't you weren't 50%?

Bruce Devlin:

You weren't guaranteed to make it.

David Graham:

It was just a comedy of errors.

Mike Gonzalez:

Let's move on to your next you won a couple times, at least non majors 1976. The first one was the Amex at West Westchester Classic buy three shots over fellows that our listeners certainly going to know Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Fuzzy Zeller.

David Graham:

Yeah well, I, I remember that because if you google and 1976, American Express Westchester Golf Classic. It had maybe the best field in those days in golf, because it was the very first tournament that we played for $300,000 in prize money, and we were walking around. So man, can you believe we're playing for this money? I mean, Nicklaus played, Trevino played, everybody played, and it had a great field. And we were all just dumbfounded that we were playing for that kind of money.

Mike Gonzalez:

I have a vivid recollection about that as a younger man about the size of the purse and I don't know if that was the place where we're the first prize money for the first time was something like 50 or 100,000.

David Graham:

It was it was 60,000. I've still got to check.

Mike Gonzalez:

Later that year, I guess American Golf Classic at Firestone a classic track in America by for over Lou Graham who I think won the U.S. Open the previous year at Medina.

David Graham:

That was at Firestone ?That actually

Bruce Devlin:

It was on the North course wasn't it?

David Graham:

Yeah, that actually was maybe in the top three tournament's that I won as far as playing because the first two days I played with Arnold Palmer, and playing with Arnold I bogeyed the first hole. It was certainly no surprise to me. But then I went, I went 66 holes without making a bogey. After that, and I bogeyed, I think the 68th hole that I played, I three putted and then I, I finished up parring in and winning but from tee to green that was about as good as I ever played

Bruce Devlin:

Am I correct by saying that was that was on the North course. It was not the south and where they play the WGC.

David Graham:

They played the they played the what was that tournament afterwards?

Bruce Devlin:

World Golf championship.

David Graham:

Yeah, but what was it called in those days?

Bruce Devlin:

I can't remember.

David Graham:

And that was the following week. Yeah. And that's why they played on and I wasn't in the following week until I won that week. And then I played the next week. Yeah.

Mike Gonzalez:

Next big win 1980 Memorial Tournament by one over Tom Watson that had to be pretty early in the history of the Memorial Tournament.

David Graham:

Yeah, it was Memorial started I think in 76 when Roger Maltbie beat I think he beat Hale Irwin. And I want won in 1980 and I made a monster putt on the last hole of beat Tom Watson.

Mike Gonzalez:

That's a big course.

David Graham:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I was pretty proud of winning there because I've been a member there for since like, 1978. I haven't been a good member because I really haven't been there taken guests and gone there and stuff like that. So I've been, I guess you'd call that disrespectful to Mr. Nicklaus? Not intentionally, but I just, I just have trouble going to tournaments where I'm not competing. And when I retired from golf, I haven't been I've been there a couple of times. I went back for the President's Cup when it was there, and enjoyed it and put my jacket on, which was kind of nice.

Mike Gonzalez:

We just completed another redo.

David Graham:

They had, yeah, I get all of the information. I know they redid 15 they put bunkers on the right and they they had problems with those, it's interesting golf course people that look at that hole, and they said, Well, that's not very good hole. But they don't have the ability to realize that that was all on rock. Yeah, so it was just the natural contour. You know with topsoil over rocks. I think Jack decided to...

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah and the creek run down here on the bottom left side of it there.

David Graham:

And it really was just like a par 4 for the players. I mean, what what they're doing with with par fives now 600 like the 17th hole and Baltusrol that big dogleg left the 600 yard par five. They're all hitting irons on the Green.

Bruce Devlin:

I know. It's crazy.

David Graham:

You know, the 8th hole at Augusta, 580 yards uphill. They're hitting six irons on the green.

Mike Gonzalez:

I detect some envy from you guys.

David Graham:

No, par fives are really not three-shot holes like they used to be.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah. And it's for us. It's well, for me in particular. I mean, I I just I just have trouble understanding how I know the second tee at Augusta now has been moved back from where where I played it. And I think Shaufflie hit a drive and a seven iron on the green the last day at Augusta. I mean, that's you just I mean, you can't even, I can't even compute that in my head that day that you could hit a driver and a seven iron on the second hole.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah. And my dad and I and my two brothers, we went to the Masters for practice rounds every day back in the 90s. And that's where we sat, we sat behind the second green. And I can probably count on one or two hands over 10 years how many guys were hitting the green irons and hitting the green? It's just a whole different era now. And I'm sure you too, would have loved to have played had the opportunity to play to today's technology.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah. Well, you know, I can I can tell you this for sure. And it's 13 years ago, when I turned 70. I could hit the ball further than I could when I was 25. Yeah, because of the golf ball and the golf clubs. So, you know, I had I got a bit of a feel for that. But I can't get to 340 off the tee anymore. I just can't. I can't imagine it. But it's happening all the time.

David Graham:

Well, I don't you know, I don't have a problem with it. Because I think the equipment is as Mr. Callaway said, you know, I'm building clubs to make golf, a more enjoyable game for the average player. And if you look at and it's a broad brush, perspective, but if you look at the PGA Tour, it's exhibition golf. And, you know, they play Augusta, one week, the next week, they go to Hilton Head this week, they go somewhere else. And so they're a traveling group of stars that play golf, and I think they put on a golf display that everybody's envious of and, and everything so I mean, I I really don't understand why people are so obsessed with. We don't want low scores. I say you know what, you you're watching the best players in the world

Bruce Devlin:

They're supposed to have low scores,

David Graham:

And they're supposed to do that they're supposed to do it's no different than basketball. The best players in basketball, make the hoop

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah, they make some shots, that nobody else can do

David Graham:

So I'm, I'm kind of tossed in the middle of it. I don't see how it's destroying the game because some guy hits a seven iron on a par five and makes eagle three. If I'm a spectator, that's what I want to see. Yeah, sure. Yeah. You know,

Bruce Devlin:

The only negative and I'm putting on another hat right now

David Graham:

You're putting on your golf course, my architectural hat

Bruce Devlin:

I'm putting my architectural hat on it's, you know, it's become it's become where the The better players actually have received more benefits out of this technology than the average guy. And we're building you know, today they're building golf courses that are six and 700 yards longer than they used to. Perfect example, when I first got into the architectural business, you know, you try to build, you're trying to build 18, par threes. I know that may sound strange to people, but you have a common first tee shot, right, and a par four, you have a second shot. So it might be a driver and a two iron and to drive and a four iron and then driver and six iron then a driver and an eight iron, driver and a wedge, all different holes. My first angle point originally was 235 yards. And when I think the last golf course I built, my first angle point was 285 yards. So that just shows you, you know what's happened to the game from an architectural standpoint, you can't, you can't build a golf course on the old specs. You say you have to, you have to adjust to it, you use more land, cost you more money to build it. That's the only negative I see is from an architectural standpoint.

David Graham:

Well, but interestingly though, if you look at it, you look at some of the great holes in golf. Let's start with the 14th hole at Muirfield. Let's start with the seventh hole at Pebble Beach. Let's start with the 7th hole in Scottsdale about the 10th hole at Riviera. Good point. So it may it may be an architectural scenario too of we've reached the stage where we can't build small greens because of too many people playing and too many ball marks and everything of the greens got to be bigger so they don't show their wear as much and create more hole locations. And there's you know, it's it's a no win. I agree with everything that you're saying. Yeah,

Bruce Devlin:

but but it's good point you make good points, because some of the really memorable holes are in fact the shorter holes rather than the 640 yard par fives.

David Graham:

Look at the 12th hole on Augusta National its 150 yards long.

Bruce Devlin:

It'll make you pucker up won't it?

Mike Gonzalez:

Or how they have to play the third today at Augusta. Yeah, yeah.

David Graham:

But no, I don't disagree with what you're saying. But there you can't build a golf course with 18 hundred yard little tiny par three greens either. No, it's hard.

Mike Gonzalez:

So let's go back to the 1981 Phoenix Open you won by one over Lon Hinkle at Phoenix Country Club. Any vivid recollections of that tournament?

David Graham:

No, I made a hole in one and won a car

Mike Gonzalez:

What was the car.

David Graham:

Well, I went to the dealership and I picked out a car and I can't remember what it was because they told me I was gonna have to pay X amount of tax on it. And I said, Well, you can keep your car. Winning winning cars has always been grossly overrated because you get it as ordinary income. And the taxes you pay are about the wholesale value of the car. So it may be okay if you're worth a lot of money and you make a hole-in-one and win Ferrari and you don't care about the taxes. But if you win a $30,000 car and the government says you owe $15,000 in taxes, you don't want the car.

Mike Gonzalez:

Let me drive it free for a year.

David Graham:

Yeah, give me a loaner for a year.

Bruce Devlin:

That actually that used to happen on the golf tour. You know that back in the back in the mid 60's to I think it probably finished about 1970 the top 25 players on the money list for the previous year. Got to drive a Pontiac car for the whole year, the next year.

Mike Gonzalez:

Di you get taxed on it.

Bruce Devlin:

In those days, I wasn't in the top 25. So I don't I'm not sure but I will tell you one little story about that. There was a Canadian golfer by the name of Stan Leonard. I'm sure David remembers you probably do too. He won three or four times here in on the U.S. tour. He did in fact finishing the top 25. And in 1965. He finished playing after Augusta and he came up to me and he said Bruce, would you would you consider taking care of my Pontiac for the next six weeks. I'm going back to play golf on the Canadian tour. And I said, Well, if you twist my arm just a little bit, I think I'd do that. So I drove his Pontiac around for six weeks. So that was pretty nice.

Mike Gonzalez:

Let's finish up with the 1983 Houston Coca Cola open. A fairly dominant performance by five over Lee Trevino, Lee Elder and Jim Thorpe at Woodlands Country Club.

David Graham:

And I triple bogeyed the first hole on Sunday.

Mike Gonzalez:

And still won by five. Yeah. What di you shoot that last round? You remember?

David Graham:

I don't know low 60s.

Bruce Devlin:

I know somebody who was doing the telecast that day

David Graham:

And then I got on a helicopter with you and we went to the course you designed right in Lufkin.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah, we, David David won and of course, once you when you go to go to the press thing and all the rest of it, and I had a pro-am at a course that I built up in Lufkin, Texas, and we had a great pro-am there. I think first prize was a Cadillac. If I remember correctly,

David Graham:

I didn't win. I know that right?

Bruce Devlin:

I didn't mean either.

David Graham:

I remember how I think you paid me $100,000 appearance fee was it?

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah, yeah, that would be the day wouldn't it? Anyhow we had to wait around wait around and actually Freddy Couples and I were waiting for David because Freddy was going up to play in the pro-am. And we waited around and hopped on that helicopter and went up to Lufkin, Texas and played in a little pro-am.

Mike Gonzalez:

Now before we get into the major championships, a few other recollections I guess relative to some team play and country representing your country in some competitions. This is not necessarily chronological, but the Piccadilly World Matchplay Championship? Yes. We in 76, yes. Yeah. At Wentworth.

David Graham:

Yes, that was that was in those days, an elite tournament, because everybody got a chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. You all got to stay in a private house out near the estate of Wentworth, you they, they gave you a cook, and they were only eight players. And, you know, to get an invitation to play, you know, was you would had to have done some pretty good. Yeah. And, and I remember, I beat Raymond Floyd in the semi finals. And then I beat Hale Irwin in the finals, and Hale was going for three in a row. And I think it took him, we've laughed about it, since but I think Hale didn't talk to me for about the next 15 years. But since then, we've become good friends, mainly, I think because of the 1994 Presidents Cup where he and I were captains, we really kind of put all that stuff behind us. And we had a job to do and we knew what needed to be done. We jokingly talked about it. And it's quite interesting. In so many ways you you develop friendships on the Tour. Some good, some bad, some people are good losers. Some people are bad losers and some carry a grudge and some don't. But it seems when you kind of get either onto the Champions Tour or you get a little older and you get a little more mature. You kind of figure out a way to go you know what we did back then it's just ridiculous. You know, let's shake hands and get on with our lives and how's your wife and how's your kids and all that kind of stuff? Yeah, but Hale to his credit, Hale was a fierce competitor.

Bruce Devlin:

He sure was!

David Graham:

The best player to play on the Champions Tour and Bernhard Langer coming and close to him. And everyone said Hale Irwin's record on the Champions Tour would never ever be equaled. I mean he won 44, 45 times.

Bruce Devlin:

It's pretty amazing really.

David Graham:

And you think too, during that era. You know, Nicklaus came out and played on the Champions Tour, Arnold did, Gary did you know Ray Floyd all those you know, all those big name guys were all playing and Hale Irwin won 45 times. You know, Langer's won what, 41?

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah Langer's is getting up there pretty close.

David Graham:

And I wouldn't put it past Bernhard to tie it I mean that's an incredible record.

Mike Gonzalez:

What's your recollections, both of you, of the World Cup win, This was a country event? Two man teams?

Bruce Devlin:

Yep. Two man teams.

Mike Gonzalez:

And I think you guys were up against the defending champs or at least the host team, you were up against the host team down in Argentina,

Bruce Devlin:

Correct. Yeah, we I think both David played in the Australian Open the week before. And then we played together in... was called The World Cup then or was it still the Canada Cup?

David Graham:

It was the World Cup.

Bruce Devlin:

And we were we were fortunate enough to to win the team event there and David will back me up on this. It was it was pretty tough. Going down there and beating Roberta DeVincenzo. And what's the other boy's name?

David Graham:

You know what I don't remember.

Mike Gonzalez:

Vincente Fernandez.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah. They, I vividly remember the first hole that I drove it, I drove it down the right side of the fairway might have might have been just in the rough. And you know, everybody else teed off and we're walking down there and I get down there amd my balls under a tree.

David Graham:

Yeah, no ropes, no gallery ropes. It was crazy.

Bruce Devlin:

And I thought, this is gonna be a long day. But we ended up we ended up victorious, which was nice.

David Graham:

Well we were more than victorious, we absolutely destroyed the field. Yeah, we won by 19 strokes or some crazy amount.

Mike Gonzalez:

So it was a it was a better ball stroke play event, and it wasn't foursome's play or any of that. It was all better ball.

Bruce Devlin:

No, it was "add 'em up".

Mike Gonzalez:

Oh, it was both of you add them all up. Okay.

Bruce Devlin:

And there was an there was an individual as well. Did you win the individual?

David Graham:

I finished second

Bruce Devlin:

Finish second to DiVencenzo? Yes, that's right, Roberto won the individual.

David Graham:

By a stroke, Yeah. That's before you taught me how to play bunker shots. When I had a simple little bunker shot on 17 and I flobbed it out about eight feet. If you'd had taught me earlier, I'd have gotten that up and down and maybe won. What did we do after we won?

Bruce Devlin:

Oh, God, I can't remember David.

David Graham:

You've gotta be kidding.

Bruce Devlin:

That's 51 years ago.

David Graham:

We got in the courtesy car, we got halfway to the hotel and you said no, we're I'm I'm hungry. And we stopped and ate pizza. And Gloria was with us. That's right. Yeah. Now, the accident happened in Adelaide. And I was driving and I was on the wrong side of the road and your father was in the backseat.

Bruce Devlin:

Oh dear the times huh

Mike Gonzalez:

I think I heard you say this. And I asked Bruce about it. 1970. I thought I heard remember you saying that. That you flew down in coach and flew back in first class.

David Graham:

I did, that's exactly. True.

Mike Gonzalez:

Were guys not traveling together then

David Graham:

No we weren't? No. And I and I got to the airport in Buenos Aires and whoever was supposed to pick me up, never showed up. And I sat at the airport for I don't know, an hour or two. And finally, another player got off the plane and saw me sitting there and I don't even remember who it was. And they said, Well, my cars over here. Why don't you come and ride with me?

Bruce Devlin:

So they stranded him at the airport.

David Graham:

And now I can remember interestingly, Bruce, and I won $1,500 each.

Mike Gonzalez:

And cost you how much to make that trip?

David Graham:

Well they paid, they paid my coach feel they paid Bruce I'm sure he went first class. But then they they put me in first class on the way that's when you could smoke cigars. Yeah, in airplanes. And you get on there and stink.

Bruce Devlin:

Isn't that crazy to think that we ever did that. It's just astounding.

David Graham:

And we flew back to Miami. But you know, in those days to get from Australia to Buenos Aires was no easy feat. You had to come all the way back to LA and then you had to go all the way across to Miami and then you had to make like three stops to get started in Bogota. And you'd stop in Lima, Peru and Colombia. Yeah.

Bruce Devlin:

It was Yeah, it was a long trip.

Mike Gonzalez:

I think he recounted one of your travels do to get was it to Scotland?

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah when I when I first went to Scotland to play the Old Course in the original in the inaugural Eisenhower Cup matches. From the time I left Sydney Airport until the time I landed at Glasgow airport. It was 52 hours with a seven hour layover in New York. So it went Fiji, Honolulu, LA, New York, Newfoundland, London, Glasgow.

Mike Gonzalez:

The Concorde was fully booked out.

Bruce Devlin:

I wish it would have been

David Graham:

Now you can go to DFW and you can get on a plane go nonstop to Dublin.

Mike Gonzalez:

You played in the in the Alfred Dunhill Cup team victories for Australia in 1985. which I think was the inaugural event. Yes, teamed with Greg Norman and Graham Marsh and also an 86 with with Greg Norman and Roger Davis.

David Graham:

Yes. Yeah, we won that twice in a row.

Mike Gonzalez:

And what was the format of that event?

David Graham:

That was like a stroke play, match play. So you you had to keep your score. So and there were no gimmes. So like, gross. 71 beat gross 73 Yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. And I remember one day there The wind blew so hard that Greg Norman was the only player that broke 80. I shot 81 and I beat somebody who shot 84. The wind, it was like 50 mile an hour winds, I have a picture at home of the flag on the 16th green, that the tip of the flag is about 18 inches from touching the ground. Yeah, that's amazing. That's the most difficult day I've ever played in.

Mike Gonzalez:

Let's move on to the major championships and talk a little bit just maybe in chronological order in terms of how they typically laid out during the year the Masters was generally the opening event it is today. 14 starts in the Masters. Only one missed cut, one WD. You played a lot of practice rounds there with Jack Nicklaus. Did you?

David Graham:

A lot. Yes. He always liked to play Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, the week before. And he had a nice little

Bruce Devlin:

Because you weren't sure how far it was airplane. And I had started I actually start had started to work for him with when he purchased McGregor Golf Club company. And we would go up and play Tuesday, Wednesday and gonna go. Thursday. And then we would go back to the I think it was the

David Graham:

The balls were so bad. So if you played the 10th Radisson Hotel downtown in those days. And he would have hole, and like Jack would hit a couple of six irons. And if the MacGregor golf balls by the gross. And we would sit there, he had a little steel ring. And we'd sit there and we'd eat dinner in the room. And we'd sit there and we drop golf balls through the ring and the ones that went through sometimes. And sometimes the ones didn't go through when in the B and C bucket. And then he take all the ones out of the A bucket and we take him out on the golf course. And it was kind of really raw, because he would hit a couple of drives like on number two and one would hit the sprinkler and go 40 yards past the other one and he'd say "you know now that balls really good. I' gonna, keep that one." And then you'd get on 12 you would never put a new ball into play on 12. ball went the exact distance, he'd say, well, that's a perfect ball and he used it on 11 and hit it. And he would, you would never put a new ball in play on the 12th tee because you had no clue how far it was gonna go?

Mike Gonzalez:

Oh, that's fascinating.

David Graham:

Yeah. And he would sort out golf balls and I'd sought out mine too because we both played McGregor's. And he was he was he was terrific to play with. And I think Bruce would attest to it. I don't know of a of a player that was more respectful on the golf course than Jack.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah, not only that he was a he was a very interesting guy to like David said to play with because you, you could tee off and as you're walking from your tee shot down to your second shot. You could talk about anything with him. Yeah, it didn't matter what you wanted to talk about. He talked about it

David Graham:

Until he got three under par.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah, but even then, even then he talked to you between shots but you know about 15 yards shorter the golf ball that was that was it baby that was conversations over. I got to do my deal. I think mentally I think mentally he was the strongest player that I ever came across. That could go from having a basic conversation about anything. And then just center in on what this next shot was.

David Graham:

I think you'd have to put Tiger Woods pretty close to that category. I mean, he got, he got so focused, he may not have had the conversation that you did with Jack.

Bruce Devlin:

No I don't think so. David will attest to this too. I've said I've said

David Graham:

Tiger Woods could get into another zone. I mean, he'd get into another world. I mean, what he did as a golfer is to Mike, in just off, you know, off the record. conversation. just amazing, amazing. But Nicklaus was always you'd always if you played with him, you know, you'd have to kind of go halfway up the little hill to the 12 tee, but you'd have o stop. And you'd have to let h m walk on the tee. And abou 15 minutes later, you could ge on the tee. And you'd hear on person going yay, David, yay, D vid, that'd be your wife. He was amazing. Yeah, he never he never left the green until you finished putting out I mean, he was. He was amazing. Jack Nicklaus was one hell of an athlete. Oh God. He was a great tennis player. You try to you know, one on one basketball with him we play and he'd know you over. He was a terrific athlete, Jack. Well, he used to bring like Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendll and all those guys, Pete Sampras, they'd all come and play with him at his house.

Bruce Devlin:

He was a he was a really great athlete.

Mike Gonzalez:

I think about how aggressive a pass he took at the golf ball. Back in the day when you guys were trying to hit a sweet spot that was about the size of a dime or smaller compared to today's technology. And really, I think you had to sort of play within yourself with those smaller headed clubs than than the players of today. Am I right?

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah, I think we were more concerned. I know I was I was more concerned on control, you know, keep it keeping the ball in the correct area, rather than how far I was going to hit it.

David Graham:

I remember playing a practice round with him at Royal Hobart when you when he came in, I was changing my shoes in the locker room. And it was, was a Wednesday afternoon and he had only just arrived and he opened up his bag and about four or five pairs of shoes fell out and he said you want to go play nine? And I said sure I'd love to. Well, let's go play the back nine. He said I haven't I'll see the front nine tomorrow or something. And we he had a local caddie, caddying and for him and I think it was like number 12 or 13 was a pretty severe dogleg to the right and it was a everyone was hitting like two irons off the tee and then hitting wedges on the green and I walk on the tee. And he said well, what do we do here? I saw Jack just we just just hit something down there. And it's just a wedge in. He said, Where's the green? And I said, well, the green is over there behind the trees. He said, Well, if I go over the trees, can I knock it on the green? And I said well, I don't think that's a smart thing to do. He said Well, let me try. And he pulled out this three wood and he said Is it just like left of that tree there? I said yes. It'sight about there. And he hits this three wood and hell, the ball just went straight up in the over the trees. So we walked down to where our layups were iand there's a ball already on the green about 15 feet from the hole. It was his tee shot. The 18th hole was a par five. And it was howling with wind left to right. And I mean nobody in the nobody in the field could get it on in two. And he had this low, low cut driver that started left and went down the middle of the fairway. And he just rifled a one iron on the green and said, You know how do you beat somebody's like, yeah, yeah. And you couldn't.

Bruce Devlin:

It's pretty hard to beat here.

Mike Gonzalez:

So let's talk about the U.S. Open 22 starts, 17 cuts made one top five for top 10's eight top 25's. The best finish. I think you can recall 1981 winning the U.S. Open it at Merien Golf Club. Pretty special.

David Graham:

Yeah, it was actually pretty special. I was. He was what I call trifecta where you win that tournament and you win it on national television, then you win it on Father's Day. And you win it on a classic golf course. Yeah, it was kind of like, if you were writing a script, you couldn't you couldn't write one better than that. You know, it's...

Bruce Devlin:

And there was one other aspect to it, if I can just jump across David for a second was that it probably was one of the finest ball striking rounds of golf that was ever played in a major championship, particularly on the last day. I believe he missed one green by about two and a half inches on one of the holes but obviously putted it, but that was I think you know in a lot of people's minds one of the greatest striking ball striking rounds of golf that was ever played.

David Graham:

Well, interesting. I never hit a bunker shot and I never hit a chip shot. Yeah, you think about playing any golf course and not doing that. But the I didn't know what I was doing. And I've openly said that I had absolutely no awareness of that I was trying to win. And if you just said how many greens you'd hit regulation, I would have had to say give me a 10 minute timeout because I have no clue. It wasn't until I hit my second shot on 18that Bob Goalby, who was doing ABC broadcast with Jim McKay. It wasn't until he said on air. after I'd hit my second shot that I'd hit all 18 greens. Yeah, that's where that round first got its its respect, I guess you'd call it.

Mike Gonzalez:

I mean, do you remember a Sunday sort of round like that in your career in terms of ball striking?

David Graham:

No. I did pretty good at Oakland Hills until the last hole. And then I had a, oh shit, this is a major moment. If I had a parred the last hole at Oakland Hills, I'd have shot 63. And on that golf course that would have been a pretty good score. Oh, yeah.

Mike Gonzalez:

Two great places to win major championships huh?

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah. And actually two very opposite type golf courses. When you think about it. You know Merion from a from a yardage standpoint is a lot shorter. Some of the,I mean the ninth, one par three that I always remember it Oakland Hills. I mean, that's that had to be one of the most difficult par threes that one would ever play in his life.

Mike Gonzalez:

Do you recall going and checking out Pine Valley with Ben Crenshaw on the thursday?

David Graham:

Yeah, Thursday? Absolutely. Yeah.

Mike Gonzalez:

Was it your first time over there?

David Graham:

It was, yeah. It happened by accident. We'd both played early. And I said, Where are you going? He said, I'm going over the Pine Valley. I said, Oh, can I come? He said yeah, let's go. So we went over and they kindly gave us a cart.

Mike Gonzalez:

So you get up for your, your, your final round on And we drove around. And of course, Ben was starting to really get interested in golf course design and, and the history of the game and was absorbing everything he could and got to be very good at it too I should add. And he was j st in awe of the place the unkering and the greens and t e history of the club and every hing. So yeah, I remember Sunday. I mean, some people would just picture that you just simply picked up from the lunch table, took a couple of steps and hit your first tee shot. That's kind of the way it's set up at Merion. But you get off to a pretty good start, don't you?

David Graham:

Well, you actually you had to take a cart to the driving range, because they didn't have a driving range. So you had to go out, get on the road and go down to the driving range, which was on the other course. And practice and then you'd have to come back again and then they drop you off and you'd you'd putt. Logistically now it's a really hard venue because of that reason with all spectators and corporate tents and everything. But yeah, I mean, I, I, I knew I was playing well. I was in second place. I was in the last group, so you don't have to be too smart to not be able to figure that out. I birdied the first and the second hole, which was a really good start. And, you know, I was just in a, I was just in one of those feeling good days. But you know, I was always I always played I guess, fearing something was gonna happen. You know, I never let my guard down because I was scared of either early celebrations or making a fool of myself or you know, having somebody say, well, he got what he deserved, because he shouldn't have done that on the 15th hole and stuff like that. So I was I was pretty stoic when I played golf. I was really serious. But you know, that was our living.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah, but you started the day three down. Yeah. birdie birdie start really helps. Yeah. And then swept to a three shot victory. So you made up some ground over guys like George Burns and Bill Rogers that final day. Yeah,

David Graham:

Yeah, it was a good day. And I I felt good that day, and I hit I birdied. I birdied 14 and 15. And that was a big turning point.

Mike Gonzalez:

And first Aussie to win the US Open as well.

David Graham:

How about that?

Mike Gonzalez:

And, and then I guess you had a fairly good finish. at Oakland Hills. You must like that golf course. Because you finished third in 85 there. Yeah. In the US Open after sharing the lead after after three rounds. So did that course really fit fit your eye?

David Graham:

Yeah, I'm not sure whether courses really fit your eye. You've, you've got to hit shots, whether they fit your eye or not. You know, you have to get up there. And even if you don't like what you see, you've still got to execute.

Mike Gonzalez:

David. Let's move on to the Open Championship then where you had 19 starts 14 cuts made in terms of finishes one, top five to top 10's seven top 25's your best finish T-3 at Carnoustie in 1975, the one that Watson one, what are some of your recollections of competing in the Open Championship?

David Graham:

Well, I think we we all loved it. I mean, we used to be able to go play the Scottish Open the week before and then go play the Open Championship. I mean, everybody was like taking kind of let's go over there and have a vacation but play golf at the same time kind of thing it was a nice change of pace. The courses were so much different. It was in the summertime. So most everybody took their families when they were old enough to take them and the camaraderie amongst I think all of the players that went with their wives and their children. And the kids would walk the course. And they, if there was a little par three, they'd play the par three, they'd go to museums and castles and, and the wives all really got together and we all stayed in the same hotel. And I think it was a specific tournament where everybody kind of realized that everybody in that little group was family, you know, and you'd see Barbara Nicklaus babysitting my children or Gloria, doing something with her kids. Or the Jacklin's taking care of somebody. You'd see the wives walking the golf course with children in hand and stuff like that and it was, it was a great week in golf, it was really kind of come together kind of week, I think. Anyway, I think I was lucky. I mean, I, the PGA was a life changing experience for me. And I sometimes think, what would have happened to me as a golfer if I hadn't have won that tournament? And I don't want to know the answer to that. And I, I feel like I could have should have won the Open Championship when it was played at St. George's. When I made a couple of bogeys, that was maybe the most disappointing time in my career, but then you look at what some people have had to endure, like that Frenchman, that, you know, made, you know, quadruple on, you know, I'm so blessed that nothing like that happened to me. And to think that you play golf for such an extended period of time, you know, three or four decades, and you can walk away and you really kind of only have one thought in your mind that I kind of nearly could have should have won that tournament, but I didn't. I mean, that in itself is a blessing.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah, I agree with him.

Mike Gonzalez:

What about in terms of Open venues? Is there one in particular that you just found really, really hard?

David Graham:

Aw, they were all hard? Because the going to hard fast golf was so much difficult after playing aerial golf. And the weather could change so much. I mean, look at St. Andrews, Tony Jacklin played early in the morning, and I think ran around that course in 63. And then the low score in the afternoon was like 74. And it the luck of the draw sometimes, you know, and I my one of my fondest memories of the Open was at St. Andrews in 1970. It was my first Open Championship and it happened to be at St. Andrews. And we got to Russacks hotel. And they put my wife and I we've only been married about a year and a half. And I think they knew that they put my wife and I in a lovely room overlooking the 18th fairway in the 18th green, we had a little balcony. And I mean, we thought, wow, this is really nice. And we had a big enough room where you could put the suitcases in the closet, which was highly unusual. And on Friday afternoon, I got a tap on the door and said Mr. Graham, we have to move you and I said no, no, I'm fine. We're fine right here. And they said now we're sorry sir. We have to move you the, the the King and the Duchess and the Queen or whatever are coming and this is their favorite, favorite room and I said okay, so we finished up spending the next two nights in a room next to the trash can out back. Where they'd wake up at four o'clock in the morning, you could hear him smashing the bottles in the dumpster. But I remember that because I got there on a Monday and Tom Weiskopf was there. And he said, Let's go play. And we played 18 in the morning, and then we went in and had a quick little lunch. And he said, Well, let's go play again. I said, Okay, so I go play again. And then we got done. And he said, you know, it's only six o'clock. It doesn't get dark till 11 o'clock. He said, what are we going to do sit in hotel room? And I said, well, let's go play again. And we played and the sun went down. You could see all the shadows on the golf course. And there were a dozen or so people walking around watching us play and I got back to the room and my wife said where in a world have you been? You didn't buy me breakfast. You didn't buy me lunch. You didn't buy me afternoon tea, and I had to eat by myself in the room. I said honey, I'm at St. Andrews every day for this week's gonna be like yeah, but the Open. You know, the Open was great. I mean, I talk about you know, Royal Birkdale. Geez, your experiences at Royal Birkdale were unbelievable with the Alcan tournament and everything.

Bruce Devlin:

Yeah. I said to Mike the other day that exactly what you just said about, you know, you could be unlucky with the draw at the Open Championship. I remember the yeaar that Tony Lema won. He had an early and a late draw, and I had a late and an early draw and a very similar thing to what you just talked about. I think the morning he shot like 65 or something, and I think I was low in the afternoon at 74. Yeah, so you know, that's a big that's a big start. And obviously not enough to overcome.

David Graham:

Yeah. And it happened, it happened nearly. And you never knew when and, um, you had to feel sorry for the caddies because you'd, you'd go to the range, and you'd have two cashmere sweaters and the ski cap and gloves and your rain suit on and you'd get on the 10th tee and you'd be in short sleeves. So you got to pile all that stuff in your bag. So the caddy just increased the weight by about 10 or 12 pounds.

Mike Gonzalez:

When it was wet. It was maybe 20 pounds. Yeah. Is it fair to say that isn't you two guys more international players that the Open Championship was really the big one of the four?

David Graham:

Yeah, I would think so. I think a lot had to do with the fact that where we came from Peter Thomson had one five of 'em, you know, three in a row for an Australian I mean what a record in the Open Championship. And he always talked about the Open Championship. And I think if you're born in Australia, or New Zealand, you know, Bob Charles, born in New Zealand won the Open. I think they lean more towards saying I want to win the Open Championship, where in America they go, it's getting, it's getting to be difficult to analyze, and if you try to stack them in a row, but I think now I think most Americans say you know, I want a green jacket. Yeah. Because of the history and because of the way they treat their past champions and the past champions dinner and wearing the jacket, and the way they take care of them. I think it used to be I want to win, you know, the U.S. Open, but it I think it'd be a coin toss now between, you know, the, the U.S. Open's got more history, but it doesn't have the tradition of treating their past champions like the Masters does.

Bruce Devlin:

And I said to I said the Mike too that. If you if you look at it purely from an economical standpoint, back in the 60's and 70's, the Open Championship, from a financial standpoint was was really great for international, what we would say international players, Australian, South Africans,

David Graham:

Oh, yeah, well, Merion, Merion's deeply whatever you want to call them. But my you know, you just hit on the subject that I talked about too today if if somebody said yo can have one of four majo championships i think i thin i'd take the Masters because o exactly what you just said. W just saw Charlie Coody this ye r go to his 49th champions dinn r 50 years ago, he won t e tournament. He's been back 9 years in a row to have dinne , which is, you know, it's pret y remarkable wh entrenched in history and John Capers, who runs their archives is one of the most knowledgeable guys in Merion sports golf memorabilia, and, and I've done several things at Merion that I've been really pleased about, in fact, the clubs that I won the actual set of irons that I won the Open with there hanging in the dining room, and Merion. And I went to the celebration there. In fact, I just went I two years ago, I just went to a lovely dinner that I hosted for me, which was very nice. And it's just a great, classic, historic place.

Mike Gonzalez:

What a great place to have a major championship win. Let's finish up with the majors of the PGA Championship. 22 starts to top fives 4 top 10's six top 25's obviously the best finish 1979 at Oakland Hills winning in a playoff over Ben Crenshaw, I remember Jim McKay being on the call on television. And it was fun to sort of go back and watch that. And it did strike me you mentioned it earlier just bought What an awesome ball striking round that was.

Bruce Devlin:

That golf course made you play good. I can tell you that.

David Graham:

You could you could shoot Yeah, well, Oakland Hills was Oakland Hills was tough Hogan I think called it the monster.

Bruce Devlin:

That's right, yes he did, he called it the monster'

David Graham:

George Fazio had re-done some work and put bunkers out there and Hogan just made some comments about a difficult it was. So if it was difficult for Hogan you can appreciate how the rest of the field had to feel.

Mike Gonzalez:

So you come to a 18 I think I've got this right you correct me if I'm wrong. Was there some big bonus money on the line that somebody had put up for certain scores and things.

David Graham:

Yeah there were two bonus there was Golf Digest put up $50,000 for low round record of the tournament history of the tournament, and $50,000 for low 72 holes. And I had both of them won until the last hole. And I finished up doubling the last hole so I didn't get any bonus money at all, which is I didn't deserve it. And then I got in a playoff with Crenshaw,

Mike Gonzalez:

But a par would have gotten you the 100,000?

David Graham:

A par would have broken both records or Okay. Okay. Would have been worth 100,000.

Mike Gonzalez:

So before we get to the playoff, yeah, you hit your tee shot a little bit right on 18.

David Graham:

How about way right.

Mike Gonzalez:

And it's, hard to determine the yardage.

David Graham:

Well I couldn't get to the sprinkler. Because there was, you know, and I, I kind of I was in the rough, but I had a really good lie. And I really, I couldn't see the pin but I had just a little tree in front of me. And I couldn't quite get the angle and I didn't go look at it and my caddy didn't go look at it. And I kind of figured I had like 160 and I thought well I'm the only place I'm not gonna hit this ball is in the face of the bunker because a great big bunker right in front of the green and sand was real soft. And I said just don't hit it in the bunker.

Mike Gonzalez:

But you asked your caddy and your caddy said what?

David Graham:

I don't want to go there. He didn't have a clue how far it was. Let's put it that way. And and I hit a really good shot I think hit the back edge of the green and bounced up into where the gallery had been sitting and I had a terrible bloody lie and I chilly dipped it just short. And then I chipped it pretty good. I chipped it about three feet past the hole. And then I I pushed the putt cause I thought I was gonna miss it to the left and I poked and I hit it. I hit it 18 inches past the hole and I made it. So I'm damn lucky I didn't make seven to be honest with you.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah. So what's what's your frame of mind now? Now your going to a playoff.

David Graham:

Not good.

Mike Gonzalez:

You weren't expecting to be in a playoff obviously.

David Graham:

I am in a world, I'm in a place I've never been

Mike Gonzalez:

But you pulled it together.

David Graham:

And I got and I'm playing Crenshaw, who's like the before most popular newcomer out there. You know, and I'm, I'm an Aussie guy and Aussies are not supposed to win the PGA against Ben Crenshaw.

Mike Gonzalez:

The first two playoff holes pretty interesting.

David Graham:

Well, I told my caddy I said Do me a favor and don't talk to me. Just let me stew. And I snapped it off the first hole and I got down there and I could I had a wedge that I could hit over a tree and get it back onto the fairway and Crenshaw hit a nice drive and good second shot on the front edge. Pin was up on the second tier. And I hit a not a very good wedge shot. I was not a real good player from about 100 yards. And I hit it 20 feet and Ben putted it up about that far. And I made the putt and I have no clue how the hell that ball in the hole because I was not happy.

Mike Gonzalez:

You had to make a 20 foot putt to stay alive.

David Graham:

15,18 feet Yeah.

Mike Gonzalez:

And then the second hole something almost similar?

David Graham:

The second hole I hit a really good second shot but it went over the back of the green and Ben hit it on the front edge. He putted up close. I kind of hit my chip a little heavy, not bad, but it stopped 10 feet short. I made that to keep going. And then on the par three, I hit a four to about six feet. And Ben hit it in the right hand bunker and didn't hit a good bunker shot. And he putted first and missed so I had two putts to win and I made it for two

Mike Gonzalez:

Was that the best four iron you probably can remember?

David Graham:

Yeah one of them. Actually the best four iron I hit was on 15 on Sunday I hit it I hit it around the corner and I hit it about six inches.

Mike Gonzalez:

You overcame a four shot deficit to win. The third round leader was none other than Rex Caldwell.

David Graham:

Oh, Dan Jenkin's great Sports Illustrated comments you're gonna bring up right about the hot dog.

Mike Gonzalez:

I found a quote from him. It's interesting because just about every major championship you can find his article.

David Graham:

Well one will learn, as Bruce will attest, that no matter who you are maybe with the exception of Nicklaus one does not go in the press tent on Saturday night saying they may as well give me the trophy this tournament is over. Yeah. That's a big mistake for for anybody to make Actually,

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah, and as a result of this, this Dan Jenkins quote from which would have been an SI article, I guess back in 78, it says, "unveiled a new personality Rex Caldwell, who is such a hot dogm there isn't enough mustard in America to cover him."

Bruce Devlin:

He had a pretty sharp pen. And he could do some pretty fancy writing. If, if you got on the wrong side of him. You knew you were gonna get it for sure.

Mike Gonzalez:

But was he fair? I mean, in general, was he a fair writer?

David Graham:

Dan Jenkins? Oh, he was a brilliant is a good writer. He's wasa brilliant writer, he wrote some great books, what was it "Semi-Tough" he wrote. He wrote some great stuff he was. He was always fair. If you didn't make a fool of yourself. Yeah.

Mike Gonzalez:

Well at that PGA Sam Snead made the cut at age 67. A little bit over age 67. He made the cut. And that was the final major in the decade of the 70's. And Nicklaus and Wesskopf were the only two I think that played in every major championship in that decade. Yeah, amazing. So David, I'll ask you this. I mentioned to Bruce I asked. I asked the Great Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton, this question got a very interesting answer. I want to ask you the same question. I you were 20 years old again. nd you know then what you kn w now, what would you do diff rent?

David Graham:

Take better care of my finances.

Mike Gonzalez:

Simple as that?

David Graham:

Yeah, I think that's, that would sum it up. I think. I think I made the mistake of trusting too many people with my money. And in those days, you you paid a high price for people that didn't have your best interests at heart.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah, yeah. If you had one career Mulligan, which shot would you take it on?

David Graham:

Oh, gosh. That's a good question. I'm not even sure I need a mulligan.

Bruce Devlin:

There you go?

Mike Gonzalez:

I like it.

David Graham:

I don't need a mulligan. I'm happy.

Mike Gonzalez:

And we've got a guy back at our club that we'd play with and he would he would really welcome remark.

David Graham:

What would you take Bruce?

Bruce Devlin:

I would take my although I hit what I consider to be a perfect golf shot. I would take back my greedy second shot at the 11th hole at Augusta when I was carrying a three shot lead into late Saturday afternoon when instead of being a smarty and go, you know, 15 feet right of the flag. I was so damn good. I was going right at the flag and it hit that little mound shorter the green went in the water. And I shook hands with an eight, which wasn't very good.

David Graham:

Well, it's interesting when you watched Schaeffler plays 16. I mean, when you look at that he hit the wrong club and aimed in the wrong direction. You don't hit high cuts into that over the water. You turn it over from the right side

Bruce Devlin:

And use the bank on the right side

David Graham:

It's easy to say after the fact.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah, what was your best run of golf? Your best stretch that you remember?

David Graham:

Oh I think maybe 76 thru 81. Yeah, I won a lot of tournaments in 76. I think I won seven or eight times around the world. And yeah, I would have been if they'd have been rankings, I'd have been ranked second in the world next to Jack. But in those days, they didn't keep too many. And they didn't they certainly didn't keep international victories you didn't get any credits for international stuff.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah. What about slumps? Or when the game just wasn't quite where you wanted it to be? How would you go about your business any differently to sort of find a way to break through,

David Graham:

I think from 74 through 75 I didn't play very well. And I, there were a lot of things that happened in our personal life. That may have attributed to that, but I wouldn't want to use that as an excuse. Yeah, you just can't play this game for you know, look at Jordan Spieth. You just cannot play golf for 30 years without having a slump. It's just not possible. And then people can be so cruel in as much as you know, if you don't win they start, what's wrong with you? What's wrong with you? And and when you set the bar pretty high and then you have a dry spell. People don't understand what's happening and you look at Jordan Spieth and he got married. He's working on his swing. He's trying to learn how to live two lives between being a married man and being a family man and being at Tour player, which is not easy to do in the best of circumstances. And you know, and then you start doubting yourself and then you you know, in my case, you know that in my case, the top 60 was everything. Yeah, I mean, it was you were either on the tour or you were nowhere to be found.

Bruce Devlin:

Had to stay there.

David Graham:

And if you didn't make the top 60 I was like, done, because I couldn't get sponsor exemptions. I mean, I wasn't that well known. So, you know, you put so much pressure on yourself that you know I bought a house. Have I done the right thing? Should I be here? Should I have done this? And should I've done that and you get all these negative thoughts creep into your mind? And it trickles down into your golf?

Mike Gonzalez:

When did you finally wake up and realized, okay, I belong here, I can play with these guys.

David Graham:

Most likely, after I won a Westchester tournament, which if you look back and you look at the players in that tournament, players that you had to beat because I had a reasonably dry spell after like the Cleveland Open in 72. I didn't play very well in 73 or four or even five, for that matter. And, you know, 76 was a big year for me World Cup, the World Match Play tournament, Westchester and a few others that, you know, doesn't take much to flip the switch back on again.

Mike Gonzalez:

Yeah. What type of equipment did you play both clubs and balls and in the absence of any sponsorship or endorsement money is that the equipment you would have chosen to play?

David Graham:

I think so. McGregor had the reputation. Nobody other than Titleist had a reputation of having a good golf ball. You know, ping tried to make a ball, failed. Hogan tried to make a ball, failed. The ball, the American size ball wasn't being produced in Japan. So they were only making small balls. So they didn't come into the U.S. market until they built the Dunlop Maxfli, which was a 1.68" round ball. So Titleist owned the ball companies and everybody else wanted a ball and McGregor tried to own a ball. And, Jack wanted his staff to play the McGregor Tourney ball. And you really had no way to evaluate which ball was good and which ball was bad. There was no Trackman, there was no swing speed things. Yeah, yeah, there wasn't anything and it took even Callaway. It took Callaway, you know, close to 20 years to finally develop, you know, what is considered today as good if not the best ball on the market. And so, you know, I played McGregor irons, Nicholas played them, Weisskopf played them, Johnny Miller played them, Tom Watson played them. I mean, Ben Crenshaw, play them. A lot of players played McGregor's. And there weren't a lot of choices. You know, Powerbilt, made clubs. Spalding made clubs, but Spalding made a lot of offset. They didn't make the traditional look. So McGregor was the most sought after iron in those days. And yet McGregor had a reputation of, you know, they couldn't build a sand wedge. Yeah. That's crazy.

Bruce Devlin:

Wilson were the sand wedges

David Graham:

And they were the experts. And if you and I looked at one today, you'd look at it and go, and we thought that was

Bruce Devlin:

How did I ever use that? good.

Mike Gonzalez:

And we'll leave it there. Ladies and gentlemen, Well, David, you've been more than gracious with your time today with us. We sure appreciate you sharing your stories as well as Bruce Devlin. I've just got, I guess one final question for you and that would just simply be this. How would you like to be remembered?

David Graham:

Not as a golfer, just as a good person. David Graham. Thank you for listening to another episode of "Fore the Go d of the Game." And plea e, wherever you listen to y ur podcast on Apple and Spotify, if you like what you hear, ple se subscribe, spread the word nd tell your friends. Until we ee it up again, "FORE the Good of the Game", So long, everybo

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David Graham

Professional Golfer

When it comes to golf, David Graham is a citizen of the world. He has won 36 tournaments, including two Major Championships, on six different continents and as a result, takes his place in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

A Melbourne, Australia native, Graham was first introduced to golf in his early youth as he biked past the Wattle Park nine-hole golf course on his way to school each day. As with most young people, his curiosity got the best of him and he walked into the golf shop to explore. After speaking with the club pro, he was offered a weekend job on the golf course.

He fell in love with the game and found that he had a talent with the clubs. Interestingly, he began playing left-handed and continued for four years until George Naismith, his coach and mentor, convinced him to switch to playing right-handed. Graham remembered that it took him at least 18 months before he won another event.

Graham quit school at age 13 to pursue his dream of playing professional golf. In 1962, at age 16, Graham turned professional and set out on the path he set before him. After winning a few tournaments in Australia, he made the decision in 1969 to move to the United States to try his hand on the PGA TOUR.

Although living in the U.S., he continued to play worldwide. He won the Thailand Open Championship in 1970, the Caracas Open in 1971, the Australian Open and the South African PGA in 1977, followed by the Mexican Open in 1980 and back-to-back wins at the European Trophée Lancôme in 1981 and 1982.

“I’d like to be remembered for where I came from, to where I got to.”
Back in the United States, Graham was making a name for himself by winning the PGA Championship in 1979 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan. With a stunning closing round of 65 on Sunday, he had come from four strokes behind to tie fellow Hall of Fame member Ben Crenshaw and force a playoff. On the third hole of the sudden-death playoff, Graham placed his 4-iron tee shot on the par-3 hole to eight feet. He sunk his birdie putt to claim his first Major Championship title.

To Graham, the win at the PGA Championship was a life-changing experience. He knew he could win playing against the best in the world. With a boost of confidence in his game and in himself, he entered the 1980 season ready to play. The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village would provide the test for him, and he would pass with a clutch 30-foot putt on the final hole to claim the victory by one stroke over another Hall of Fame member, Tom Watson.

Watson said that “David won the tournament; I didn’t lose it.” He went on to say, “David played some wonderful bunker shots, and he played three-under-par the last four holes.”

FACT
DAVID GRAHAM HAS WON PROFESSIONAL GOLF EVENTS ON SIX DIFFERENT CONTINENTS.

After winning the Phoenix Open in January 1981, Graham came to the U.S. Open Championship at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania to test his mettle once more. Unlike his first Major Championship title, which was clinched in dramatic fashion in a three-hole playoff, Graham recorded a final round 67 for a clear three shot lead over the rest of the field.

Many have heralded Graham’s final round as one of the best in U.S. Open history. He put on a ball-striking clinic, missing just one fairway and hitting every green in regulation. His performance on the course, especially at Merion, warranted a post-round phone call from a previous winner at Merion, Hall of Fame member Ben Hogan, who called it “one of the best rounds of golf I’ve ever seen.”

David Graham’s stellar career included his appearance in the inaugural Alfred Dunhill Cup competition in St Andrews, Scotland in 1985. Australia fielded a three-man team that included David Graham, Graham Marsh, and fellow Hall of Fame member Greg Norman. At the time, the Dunhill Cup was a team competition featuring professionals from 16 different countries.

The final would pit the Australian team against the United States team, which consisted of Mark O’Meara, Curtis Strange, and Raymond Floyd, all members of the World Golf Hall of Fame. It would be a clean sweep for the Australians as they claimed the first of two Dunhill Cup victories. Australia would claim the title again in 1986.

David Graham would represent Australia in three Dunhill Cups and two World Cups. He was also the International Team Captain in the first Presidents Cup in 1994.