The winner of the 1978 PGA Championship at Oakmont, John Mahaffey, begins his story by recalling life as a young man growing up in Texas and learning the game the way most Texans did, in the dirt and the wind. He recounts his collegiate career playing for Coach Dave Williams at the University of Houston, winning team and individual NCAA titles before heading off to Champions Golf Club to work for Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret and hone his game. Later introduced to Ben Hogan, John was the first professional signed on to represent Mr. Hogan's company. Mr. Hogan sent him to Canada to learn how to play for money before sending him off to Tour Qualifying School in 1971. John Mahaffey tells us his early story, "FORE the Good of the Game."
Golf Professional and Broadcaster
An outstanding basketball player at Kerrville High School, John Drayton Mahaffey, Jr. might have pursued that sport in college except that he weight only 117 pounds. As it turned out, Mahaffey chose golf and was at the right place at the right time when he was runner-up in the Texas State Junior Championship during the summer of 1966. Mahaffey caught the eye of University of Houston Coach Dave Williams who felt that, “John Mahaffey’s not little. He’s just not big.”
Mahaffey played big for the Cougars, leading the team to the 1970 NCAA Championship by winning the individual title by a stroke over Lanny Wadkins of Wake Forest. John also led the Cougars to a team title in 1969. After college, John went to work as an assistant at Champions Golf Club in Houston. When Ben Hogan came early to practice for the 1971 Houston Champions International, he invited Mahaffey to join him for nine holes. Mahaffey shot a 31, Hogan, 32. Mr. Hogan was so impressed that he used his influence to get Mahaffey into the Colonial National Invitation Tournament, giving Mahaffey a taste of the career he has pursued ever since. Mahaffey played on the 1979 Ryder Cup team
Despite several injuries, Mahaffey, was recognized as an exceptional striker of the ball. He won the PGA Championship and Players Championship among his 10 tour victories. He also became involved in a golf course architecture and design business. He now work as an announcer on the Golf Channel telecasts of the Champions Tour.