Dustin Johnson may have more reason to check up on his former college golf team in the next few years.
Daniel Gregory, the son of Johnson’s caddie, Bobby Brown, will be attending Coastal Carolina this coming year as a freshman in the Professional Golf Management Program (PGM) and will attempt to walk onto the men’s golf team.
Twelve-year CCU men’s coach Allen Terrell coached Johnson at CCU and was his primary instructor for three years after graduation, before Johnson began working with Butch Harmon. Brown is helping Gregory move into his housing at CCU this week.
“We’re excited about it,” Brown said. “We’re optimistic he can play for Allen. We know he’s got a great team and a lot of talent. Even if he doesn’t make the team I know he’s going to work hard on his game for a year or two and see where he stands.
“If he doesn’t make the team so be it. He’ll be a better player being around Allen, and we all know what a great PGM program Coastal has and he’s going to run through the PGM program. Life’s starting for him.”
Gregory was the No. 3 player as a senior at Los Alamitos High in southern California, where he reached the third round of the individual state playoffs and fourth round of the state team competition.
“We don’t have any expectations, let’s put it that way,” Brown said. “He loves to play competitively and the only ones who have really helped him with his swing are Dustin and Allen, so it will be good to get him around someone with as much knowledge of the swing as Allen. He’ll only get better.”
Johnson’s connection to CCU obviously played a role in Gregory’s college selection. Brown is a California native and Gregory has grown up in southern California and has been telling Brown he wanted to attend college on the East Coast. He’ll also be closer to his father when Brown is not on the road. Brown moved to Charleston last year and now lives in Mount Pleasant.
“I think he’s excited about getting under Allen’s wing, whether he plays for him or not,” Brown said. “Allen’s a great disciplinarian, he’s been a great role model for Dustin growing up and I assume he’s going to be that much of a great role model for my son, too.”
Johnson still a scholar
Dustin Johnson said last week at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course that he is still pursuing his sports management degree from Coastal Carolina. Johnson was a few credits shy of graduation after completing four years in 2007 and embarking on a lucrative pro golf career.
He was working on a way to earn his degree through online classes with one professor who left the school for the University of Mississippi, and is now working with another professor.
“We’re trying to get something together where I can finish it online without attending class,” Johnson said.
A pro-am that would include some of Johnson’s brethren on the PGA Tour is still in the works, and he’d like to host it sometime next year at the TPC of Myrtle Beach. “We’re still working on it, trying to get the details worked out, but I think [it’s going to happen],” said Johnson, who rents his Myrtle Beach house and lives in Jupiter, Fla. “If we do it, it will be at the TPC for sure.”
Johnson’s charitable foundation is actively involved in junior golf events, sponsoring a couple junior tournaments in South Carolina and co-sponsoring the American Junior Golf Association event at TPC Sawgrass later this month with his sponsor, TaylorMade-adidas Golf.
Mike Buccerone, a partner in East Coast Golf Management, is the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association 2012 Employee of the Year.
East Coast was formed late last year and has management or marketing agreements with 10 Grand Strand courses. Buccerone is now eligible for the South Carolina Golf Course Owners Association’s Employee of the Year award.
Buccerone’s positions on the Grand Strand since 1994 include assistant pro and eventual head pro at Wild Wing Plantation, and general manager at Grande Dunes Golf Course. Buccerone was at Grande Dunes when its Resort Course was named the golf course owners’ national course of the year in 2009.
He was named to Golfweek magazine’s “Top 40 Executive Under 40” list in 2002, was the 2008 PGA national merchandiser of the year in the resort course category while at Grande Dunes, has overseen two pro shops named to Golf Business Magazine’s “Top 100 Golf Shops” list, directed the Myrtle Beach Junior Golf Program from 1995-98, is heavily involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and aids other charities.
Buccerone was the director of the Grande Dunes Pro-Celebrity Classic, which raised more than $300,000 in eight years and fulfilled wishes for 60 children.
Best you can play
Three Grand Strand courses are ranked among Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You can Play for 2012.
Caledonia Golf and Fish Club is ranked 27th and The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is ranked 47th. Both layouts improved one spot from the magazine’s 2010 rankings. The Love Course at Barefoot Resort is ranked 86th.
The nation’s top courses on the list remained the same with Pacific Dunes in Oregon No. 1 and Pebble Beach Golf Links in California No. 2. In the Carolinas, Pinehurst No. 2 is ranked third and Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course is fifth.
The Strand dominated the magazine’s list of the top courses you can play in S.C., with 13 in the top 20. They are Caledonia (3), The Dunes Club (4), Love Course (6), Tidewater (7), True Blue (8), Barefoot’s Fazio Course (9), TPC of Myrtle Beach (10), Legends’ Heathland (13), Grande Dunes Resort Course (14), Barefoot’s Dye Club (16), Heritage Club (17), the Myrtle Beach National King’s North Course (19) and Pawleys Plantation (20).
Wyndham on tap
This week’s $5.2 million Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., is both the final PGA Tour event this year in the Carolinas and the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Defending champion and reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson is perhaps the highlight of the field, which will feature a number of players trying to get into the playoffs.
Also in the field are Raleigh, N.C., resident and reigning RBC Heritage champion Carl Pettersson, Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, 2011 FedEx Cup champion Bill Haas and Jason Dufner, who entered the PGA Championship third in the FedEx Cup points and eighth in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Others committed to play include former Wyndham winners Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore, Japanese superstar Ryo Ishikawa, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Rory Sabbatini, Nick Watney, Camilo Villegas, Fredrik Jacobson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Charl Schwartzel, Trevor Immelman, David Toms, John Daly, Lucas Glover, Justin Leonard and Angel Cabrera.
Golfsters active in area
The Golfsters, a group of male golfers on the Grand Strand who have been hosting charity tournaments for several years, have their next event Saturday at Man O’War Golf Club to benefit The Special Kids Program, which assists foster children in Horry and Georgetown counties. The cost is $224 per three-man team.
The Golfsters’ has more than 50 members from all walks of life. Members are as young as 20 and old as about 70, originate from northern and southern states, and are both retired and still working. Occupations include electricians, plumbers, construction workers, insurance salesmen, tax accountant, mechanics, etc.
The group has donated approximately $10,000 per year over the past few years to the Special Kids Program, and has additionally donated to other deserving children and families. The group has a monthly meeting, weekly Wednesday outings that move around the Strand, and occasional out-of-town outings. Jack Stogner (843-997-9805) is the president.
To view Blondin’s blog, Green Reading, go to MyrtleBeachOnline.com.
Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.