UA Alumnus sees resurgence in PGA

Perhaps it took Dicky Pride a while to figure out what it is like to be completely healthy following a golf season. Or, maybe it was a surge of inspiration after raising over $170,000 for Tuscaloosa in the months following the devastating tornado of April 27.

Regardless of the cause, the former DKE and Alabama golfer is on fire. With back-to-back top 10 finishes at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and The Honda Classic, and a top 20 finish at the Puerto Rico Open, Pride is playing his best golf in more than two decades.

A gallbladder surgery sent him to the Nationwide Tour in 2004, and various injuries since have kept him in and out of the PGA Tour. He credits his recent success to good health.

“At the end of last season, I wasn’t injured for the first time in seven or eight years,” Pride said. “I didn’t have to get shots. I didn’t take time off or go through rehab.”

Pride has suffered from more than a half-dozen injuries in the past seven years. He has been sidelined by plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, bicipital tendonitis, shoulder tendinitis, a broken ulna and various back problems at some point or another.

“You put a lot of wear and tear on your body playing this game every day,” Pride said. “I usually have to take a month or two off to recuperate on my shoulder, foot or elbow.”

For the first time in what felt like forever, Dicky Pride finally felt healthy coming off of a golf season. He spent the offseason at the driving range and putting green. At a time of the year when he is usually in and out of doctor’s offices or rehabilitation center, Pride was perfecting his own craft. He entered the 2012 season poised and ready to make a career run, and nobody saw it coming except, maybe, himself.

“To be honest, I hadn’t felt this good going into a year in a very long time,” Pride said. “My health has let me really take control of my game, and I feel good.”

He also spent a good portion of last year aiding the city he calls home. Pride, along with PGA golfers Kevin Streelman and Jason Bohn, set up the “Tee for Tuscaloosa” pro-am golf tournament that raised over $170,000 for various charities that were affected by the April 27 disaster.

Bohn and Streelman both have Tuscaloosa ties. Bohn played golf at the University of Alabama, and Streelman’s wife, Courtney, is from the area. They joined with Indian Hills Country Club on October 10 and saw an excellent turnout.

“I cannot express how much hard work everyone put into the event — especially Courtney,” Pride said.

For almost 20 years, Dicky Pride has stuck around the PGA Tour. Known for his casual dress and laid-back attitude, Pride has never been labeled as a dominant pro.

His one and only PGA Tour win came in 1994 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in which he described himself as a “young, dumb rookie that didn’t have a clue.”

Pride apparently did have some knowledge as to what was going on. He beat Gene Sauers and Hal Sutton in a playoff with a birdie on the first hole.

Pride hopes to duplicate this success in the future. At the age of 43, he knows his career won’t last forever. While he keeps his career aspirations private, he believes there is still a lot for him to achieve.

“I still feel like I can compete and play on the PGA Tour,” Pride said. “I have a belief in myself that I can play and win on this tour. I want to give myself the best chance to do it.”

 

Jake Gray is a senior majoring in economics and journalism. His column runs on Tuesdays.

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