Dodds still chasing dream at 56

SA Open Championship: Round 2It’s been an entire quarter of a century, and a touch more since Trevor Dodds won his South African Open Championship title. That was way back in 1990 at Royal Cape and now he’s 56.

But golf lends itself to longevity and the big, powerful Namibian is at Glendower this week for a crack at the 105th edition of the championship, now sponsored by BMW and proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.

“As a former winner I’m still exempt, but it’s the only event I’ll play out here this summer,” he says. “Next week I’m visiting family in Namibia and then it’s back to America, where I’m still chasing my dream on the Champions Tour.”

It is said that you can print your own money on the extremely competitive Champions Tour if you’re fortunate enough and good enough to be fully exempt.

The purses are huge and the fields relatively small, but Dodds is not exempt.

That means he has to try and qualify each week, and even then, qualifying is by no means easy.

“The field is restricted to players who have either won on the PGA Tour or have made 150 cuts, so it’s not just anyone who can try their luck,” Dodds said.

“There may be 50 or 60 guys each week trying for four or five spots. I was only successful once last year in 10 or 11 tries. You need to shoot the lights out to get into tournaments.

“If you don’t shoot 65 or 66, you don’t get in. Period. But I’ll keep trying. I’m hitting the ball really well and although I was struggling with my chipping, David Frost gave me a tip the other day and, like overnight, the change was amazing. So I’m upbeat about this week and upbeat about being back on tour in America.”

Dodds’ career has seen him win 15 times on four different Tours – he outgunned Scott Verplank in a play-off at the 1998 Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic for his PGA Tour breakthrough and won on the Nationwide Tour, the Sunshine Tour and the Canadian Tour. In fact, he topped the Canadian Tour Order of Merit both in 1995 and 1996 and won the Canadian PGA and the Canadian Open before it became part of the PGA Tour schedule.

Now, he feels, he’s still going strong even though he has to live in hope from week to week on the Champions Tour.

“I might not have the power game I once had, but I do have an accurate game and I’m still chasing my dream of winning in the United States,” he said.

“Then I definitely will be exempt. In the meantime, a solid week here at Glendower can only do me the world of good. You know this game: it’s a confidence thing.”

Dodds lives in Florida and has two daughters at college and an eight-year-old adopted son, Vaughan, who he says is sports mad and excels at anything he puts his hand to.

“He’s lucky he hasn’t got my genes,” Trevor says with a twinkle in his eye.

With a father still bursting with energy at 56, with goals in mind and dreams of still winning, the youngster certainly has an ‘old man’ he can be proud of.

 

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