Upon entering the World Golf Hall of Fame earlier this week, Curtis Strange said something that many who have played this game can probably relate to:
“I have been extremely lucky and blessed to play golf. I love this game, and sometimes I hate it. It frustrates us and excites us at the same time. I’ve gone to bed many nights questioning my ability and you wake up the next morning and can’t wait to play.”
The first time I saw Curtis Strange in person was in the mid 1980s at the Tournament of Champions at La Costa outside of San Diego, California. I was leaving as he was approaching the resort course on the opposite side of a driveway. We made eye contact and I noticed that his head turned slightly away and his pace quickened.
I got the impression Curtis thought I might approach him with some kind of request, an autograph or something. I’m no predatorial golf fan, nor an autograph hound, and I continued on my way.
A few years later Strange was the first Tour pro to win $1 million in a single season. Curtis also won two consecutive U.S. Opens in 1988 and 1989, a remarkable achievement, the first back-to-back national champion since Ben Hogan in 1950 and 1951. One came in an 18-hole playoff against Nick Faldo.
Strange won a total of 17 events on Tour. He had some Ryder Cup successes — and a few failures, too.
The new Hall inductee offered a fitting summation of his place in golf:
“I understand I won’t be in the starting rotation on this team, but I will be on the team. That’s enough for me.”
The Armchair Golfer
At Down the Middle: Hubert Green Induction
4 thoughts on “Hall Inductee Curtis Strange Glad to Make Team”
This year on the PGA Tour the 150th player on the list won around 500k for his efforts, yet it must have been quite an achievement back then to become the first player to win a million dollars in a single year in official money. That cause was of course helped by four titles that year including the first of his two back to back U.S. Opens. Those were his only two major victories.
The only problem with the second U.S. Open victory was that it marked his last victory on American soil. He never won another tournament after that on the Tour which was pretty strange (no pun intended!) considering he won 17 titles till then in that decade. Probably one of the greatest golfers of the 80’s it was a shame he could not elevate his career to the next level. Regardless of that he truly deserves his place in the Hall of Fame and deserves all the accolades that he is getting.
Andy: I do remember his drop off after the second U.S. Open victory. I think it surprised people. There was a lot of buzz (and pressure) around his attempt to win a third straight U.S. Open, but if I remember correctly, he didn’t come close.
He never won after the 89 Open because his intructor Jimmy Ballard told him to not come around any more then went to David Leadbetter the rest is history, he never won a tournament without Ballard’s help.
Curtis is a basic brat and there are 3 main reasons why he never worked with Jimmy since his last victory.
Reason #1: Curtis wanted Jimmy to take him to the “next level”.
Jimmy quite honestly told him that back to back Opens and Vardon’s are as good as it gets.
Curtis’s ego would not accept that and he left in a huff.
Reason #2: Curtis wanted Jimmy to technically edit an instructional book he wanted to author but did not want to pay Jimmy.
Curtis wrote Jimmy that seeing a student do well was the appropriate compensation for a teacher.
Reason #3: Curtis told Golf Digest that he was working with David Leadbetter.
Curtis and Leadpoison and a bunch of other pros were represented by IMG. Part of the deal with IMG is that a lot of these pros had to “promote” Leadpoison and they got to split about 5% of Leadpoison’s gross.
Curtis tried to come back to Jimmy and Jimmy called Curtis on telling people he was working with Leadpoison although he wasn’t.
Curtis explained it as an “IMG Corporate thing”
To this day Curtis can’t break an egg and he is asking Leonard Thompson and Jim Colbert to talk to Jimmy for him.
It is intersting that Curtis, Hal Sutton , Sandy Lyle, Jane Blalock and Emilee Klein never won squat since they stopped working with Jimmy.
Do any of you think for a second that Jimmy hasn’t pulled Rocco off the injured scrap heap?
This is the straight skinny!