Former Baylor professor Dick Couey made his first entry into the Central Texas Amputee Golf Tournament in Waco a successful one, as he won his division with two rounds of 75-74-149 total, highlighting the inspirational stories of golfers who have overcome much to play the game they love.
“I just love golf, I’ve been playing it for 68 years, but there is still nothing like hitting a good shot and conquering the mental challenge of the game,” Couey said after his victory last week at Twin Rivers Golf Club.
He lost his right leg two years ago to a blood clotting disease, but the 1994 state senior amateur champion has persevered and continues to play the game he loves with his friends at Ridgewood Country Club and at courses around the state.
“To be honest, I had never even heard of an amputee golf tournament, especially not here in Waco, but I saw the story (in the Trib golf column) and I called them up and they invited me to come and play,” Couey said.
“We probably had about 35 people and it was really amazing to see the people and the love for golf they had. There was one guy there was who didn’t have either arm, but he pressed his two prosthetics together and hit it (the ball) a mile. I couldn’t believe it.”
Since retiring from Baylor in 2007, Couey has written six books on science and microbiology, but has continued to pursue his golf.
“I’ve played professional baseball and played some football, but I think golf is still the hardest game ever. I just love the challenge of getting better.”
He said his friends at Ridgewood don’t cut him much slack with only one good leg and a prosthetic.
“Oh man, they give me a hard time,” Couey said. “They say, ‘What’s your favorite restaurant, IHOP?’
“But they pull me out of the bunkers and they help me lean against the trees. I’m still playing golf. That’s all I want to do.”
Baylor golfer wins major amateur event
The summer of Baylor golfers’ amateur success rolls on. Just a few weeks after Baylor’s Ryan Grider won the Texas State Amateur at Dallas Athletic Club, Cooper Dossey certainly picked one of golf’s most notable events and venues for his first major amateur victory.
The BU senior defeated Georgia Tech’s Noah Norton, 5 and 4, on June 29 in the final round of the 119th North & South Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2. Grider’s name will be added to a series of plaques on the clubhouse wall that includes the likes of Walter Travis, Francis Ouimet, Jack Nicklaus, Curtis Strange and Davis Love III.
Dossey, an Austin native, defeated East Carolina’s Blake Taylor, 2 and 1, in the morning semifinal and then never trailed in the afternoon final that ended after 14 holes. For a former college All-American, who underwent surgery on his left wrist and didn’t touch a club for three months, the week at Pinehurst could not have ended better.
“It’s number one,” said Dossey, when asked about where the North & South title ranks among his career accomplishments. “I haven’t really won outside of college golf on my own. I’ve actually only made two cuts before this amateur tournament, so I had no expectations, but it was a fun week, a special week.”
Like Grider’s win in Dallas, Baylor head men’s golf coach Mike McGraw said he watched with interest via social media on Dossey’s win at storied Pinehurst.
“Cooper has overcome injuries that have slowed his progress, but he has never lost hope,” McGraw said
Facing Norton, who participated in the U.S. Open earlier this month and will be back at Pinehurst in August for the U.S. Amateur, Dossey won four of the first eight holes on the way to claiming the Putter Boy trophy.
“Cooper is pretty tough to beat in match play because he never gives in. I’m so glad to see him playing well,” McGraw added.
Dossey’s younger brother Luke, a Baylor freshman golfer this fall, was on his bag for the second straight day including the final victory, something that has become quite familiar to BU golfers this summer.
With a summer full of prestigious amateur events still to come, including the Trans-Mississippi in Dallas next week where Dossey will play, there may be many more wins to come for McGraw’s talented team.