The 2005 Senior PGA Championship
A PGA of America Event. Click to learn more

An Interview with Jim Thorpe

May 24, 2005

JULIUS MASON: Jim Thorpe, ladies and gentlemen, playing in his 7th Senior PGA Championship. You could say he is a little bit warm coming into the championship. Welcome to Laurel Valley. Some opening thoughts and we'll go to Q&A.

JIM THORPE: First of all, the PGA did a magnificent job and has a beautiful golf course here. This is absolutely beautiful, man. Hopefully the weather will be good this year. I think last five years you guys had a lot of rain, didn't you? Just a little bit.


JIM THORPE: But from a venue standpoint the golf course is beautiful. I played it twice now, yesterday and today. And I don't know anything they can do to make the course any better. We don't know what the scores will be like yet because the greens have a lot of undulation to it, but from a conditioning standpoint it's nothing they can do to make the golf course any better. So this year we have a lot of ‑‑ some of the guys are playing good coming into this event. And this could be the first PGA that I played in, in the last say seven years that ‑‑ the last six years ‑‑ that I think we found the course where we can take it kind of low. The rough is not quite as high, as it was the last couple years. I don't think the golf course is quite as long. So maybe the last two or three PGA courses we played the golf courses have been a little bit long. This one is going to give you a lot of four or five holes that give you wedge shots and you got another four or five holes that give you maybe six, five, six, seven irons. And only a couple Par‑4s. That number nine is a very tough par‑4, probably a driver four, five iron for us. I think that's the longest par‑4 on the course. The par‑3s are very very good. And I'm looking for the scores to be low. We know Hale is always tough to beat and Jay Haas is in the field, Curtis Strange, Craig Stadler. So many players are playing good. Dana Quigley is playing very very well. I played two practice rounds and, man, he is playing beautiful. We just got to wait and see. It's just tough to say. I think tee times will dictate. The guys that like to play early, the guys that like to play late. But I think, I personally think this year that the scores will be lower than last year. I don't know what won last year, but when I'm not somewhere close to the lead, I don't pay much attention to the scores. But to me this course, the greens here has a lot of undulation, but the golf course is not overly long, you know what I mean. We could pinpoint flags when we're hitting six, seven, eight irons, nine irons, wedge, we can get some decent birdie putts. When you're hitting two, three, four irons and utility clubs into the par‑4s, it's very very difficult. This course, we have four par‑5s here. I know two of those par‑5s are reachable. But I know that the par‑5 greens don't have a lot of undulation where you can't hit your wedges close, you know what I mean? So if you can eliminate the downhill putts, I think you're looking for some low scores here at the PGA in the weather conditions, if they stays basically what it was today.

JULIUS MASON: Hale Irwin win shot a 276 eight under last year to answer that question. And the floor is yours, folks.

Q. When you look at your last eight or nine years on the PGA tour and then coming to the Senior Tour the incredible success you've had, could you ever have dreamed that you would have had this much success on the Senior Tour?

JIM THORPE: You know what, let me just say first of all I always felt that I had enough talent to play on the regular PGA tour. I don't think I had the right mindset. There was other things that distracted me. So I don't think I put in everything on the Regular TOUR that I could have. I realize with the Champions Tour that I had a second chance, I had a mulligan. That mulligan that we look for sometimes off the first tee. Thanks to Tim Finchem and corporate America, they gave me a mulligan. And this time I really took advantage of it. I worked hard on the game, I worked hard during the off season. I realized this is my last time around, after this, there is no more. So, yes, I felt that I could, but I didn't know because a lot of the guy that is beat me on the other tour was already on the Senior Tour, so, but I got lucky enough to win 11 times out here so far. And that comes because I learned so much more as I grown older. I learned to work harder, to be more disciplined, more patient on the golf course. I think I actually learned how to play once I got a little bit older. Before I wanted to hit it a long way, made no difference where it went. Now hitting a long way doesn't bother me. I just concentrate on scoring now. A lot of those guys that used to beat you years ago, they're older now, might not be quite as strong, hit it quite as far, putt quite as good. And the bible says he that is the last shall be first. So I believe in God for chances to go around. And I like to say that in the last six and a half years or so, since I turned 50, that it is my turn now. And I'm trying to take advantage of that.

Q. You mentioned earlier that you had distractions or other things in your mind that let you, or caused you not to play as well as you could on Regular TOUR. What did you do to get those things out of your way and let you play up to your talent now?

JIM THORPE: You know what, it's no secret I used to go to a lot of ‑‑ let me just say I used to go to a lot of the racetracks, casinos. And I think I did that because I think I was always searching for that big one. To hit the Trifecta or superperfecta or go walk into a casino and win a quick couple hundred thousand or something of that nature. Now that doesn't bother me. The Champions Tour has provided me with enough funding where it was okay on the Regular TOUR, we got by, you know what I mean, didn't what you say make a lot of money to save. I think I spent the better part of 20 years out there and probably earned a couple million dollars. And of course the money has changed quite a bit since then. But now I think I grown enough to realize that the they keep building these places because we're losing not because we're going in there and beating them. And now when it comes to going to a horse track or going to a casino, I'd much rather go to the practice range and beat golf balls, hang out with Dana and which Dana and I still stop at quite a few casinos, you know what I mean. But I think that we go just for recreation, we go to have some fun and not really try to beat them. We walk in there with four or 500 dollars and we can win four or 5,000, but we won't lose more than four or 500. This way you kind of have the fun, to where 20 years ago it was all or nothing. And the Champions Tour has provided us with a wonderful living, you know. And I can honest to God say ‑‑ as a matter of fact we talked about it today, Dana and I, and I said all the golf I played on the PGA tour and Champions Tour I never seen one check other than the years that I started on the PGA tour when they brought the checks to you the very next week. So I never really taken money from home to go do things of that nature, you know what I mean, I always I call it found money. You do a corporate day or a pro am or something you pick up two or three thousand dollars and take that money and try to parlay it. Now those things are in the back of my mind. I'm working very very closely with kids and my church at home. And these are the sort of things that kind of fire me up now. To see kids when they come to say and I need a little help with this or that. I'm on drugs, can you help me. And that sort of stuff. I'm struggling in school. This seems to be where my interest is kind of pointing to at this particular point. I figure I pretty much done everything else. So this way I can give back something to my community and try to help out other people less fortunate than I am. And I'll be very happy with that.

JULIUS MASON: This gambling seminar is brought to you free from Jim Thorpe and the PGA of America. Next question.

Q. There were a lot of head lines about you donating what you won at the Fed Ex to your church. Can you talk about that a little bit more?

JIM THORPE: Yeah we have a wonderful church there. The Heathrow Lake Crossing Community Church. Keith is a wonderful pastor. We have a great youth ministry there. The wife and I we did quite a bit, we done quite a bit there for the church. We donated a baptize center because young people that come forward we always had to go down to walk down the street to the next door neighbor to use the swimming pool to baptize these kids. And that wasn't too cool. So the wife and I we got together, we talked about it, and we might have spent 18, 20 thousand dollars on a baptize center. And then we are have a lot senior citizens in the church there that like we have a lot of youth and they needed transportation. So we donated I think it's an 18 passenger bus with a handicap lift. And from going to the church in the off season, the seats was very very hard, so we decided to donate new furniture for the church. And it makes you feel good to do something that you feel that you helped others with also. And a friend of mine we was talking about a new building fund and because we was running out of room in the old church. That we like to do a new church. And so a friend of mine by the name of Mike Lewis, who is a very very wealthy guy also. And a lot more money than I have. And Mike says to me, why don't we over the next three years pledge a half a million dollars towards the building fund to get the campaign rolling. And Pastor Keith asked me if I would make that announcement in church. Well, you know, standing in church looking at 3, 400 people out there, man, you kind of choke a little bit, you know. And anyway I did it. And since I made that commitment, I went to Savannah, actually I was really playing bad. Working hard, but just didn't make nothing happen. I left there and went to Savannah and I finished fifth, pocketed a hundred some thousand. Then the next week, I think it was the very next week I went to Austin. And after winning the tournament in Austin I says, you know what, I can go ahead and take care of my commitment in two and a half or three weeks versus three years. So I made the announcement, when I won the golf tournament, which the pastor, no one knew I was going to do that, not even my wife. And I always heard if you give something you get from God, God will give it back. Very next week I got lucky and won again. The wife says, you better bring this one home, she says. Kind of cutting in on the shopping, you know. But I'm just very very fortunate I'm very very happy that we belong to an organization that I think sometimes this year we give a billion dollars to charity and this says a lot to the Professional Golf Association or the organization there. And to be a part of that organization for so long and to see how much they're willing to give communities and do for communities and First Tee program and some of the other charities that they're involved in is it's just great to be part of that and I can say that corporate America and the PGA tour have allowed me to do that. And it just makes you feel good, man. I mean, you man, you got to look at it two ways, you can either write the check to the church or you can write it to the Uncle Sam. And I don't think Uncle Sam really needs it as bad as my church did. So my daughter goes there, she is 16 years old, the pastor has worked very very close with her and helped her in many many ways and like he's done with many many other kids there. And for some reason I always had a soft heart when it comes to kid. I was born and raised with a family of 11 other siblings. Brothers and sisters. And we never had a lot growing up, you know. So we kind of shared, you know. And now that I made it to make decent money, I make a lot of money some people say and even to do some of the others, you know, it makes you feel good.

Q. I was going to before we know about the giving the money to the church did you ever make a score at like a casino or attract and give it to the church?

JIM THORPE: Oh, yeah, I made some scores, man, but I had some losses too. You know, I never forget one time, 1985, Scott Verplank beat me as an amateur at the Western Open. I might have got 7,000, I don't remember what the dollar amount was. But I remember sending my check to a friend of mine in Atlantic City, a Brad guy named Brad Krill, he worked at the Tropicana Hotel. I remember sending my check to cover one of my losses that I had. But you know what, I don't ‑‑ no one forced me to do it. I wouldn't change it for nothing in the world. And I had some great times, I had some down times, some down times too. But you make your decisions in life, and you choose to do that, then you can blame no one and I don't even blame myself for it, that's the road I choose to travel at that particular time. And I really, and I felt when I came on tour that I had enough talent to play up there and win golf tournaments and I did get lucky enough to win two match place and the Milwaukee Open and probably had another half dozen second places. So I knew I had the talent to play out there but just the idea that I guess you can say I smelled the roses as I went along. Where a lot of guys are going to die with the money they make, I'm not going to die with nothing. I tell my daughters, when it's all over, girls, you have to go to work. And, you know, it's just that simple, you know.

Q. Is there any specific incident that caused this change in you or was there anything you can point to specifically?

JIM THORPE: I think that one of the things that, yeah, there's a couple things. The first one is I have a brother named Chuck who I thought was a magnificent player. Beautiful golf swing, all the talent. And unfortunately Chuck kind of got distracted by drugs or whatever the situation might have been at the time. And I say drugs, I don't know a hundred percent that I'm sure. But he was distracted and just wasted his whole golf career. Many many guys have told me that what a beautiful golf swing he had, a lot of talent there, but so, you know, from a very very young age I learned from that. I think as I got older and raised four girls of my own and all that stuff and you start looking back over your career and you kind of wonder, is there anything I've done good? Did I do something to help somebody and that sort of stuff. Once you get alone, I think it's time to change when you get older. Time to get off the, I never felt I traveled the wrong road, but every now and then you kind of stray off it. And I think it was time to stray back on it, give something someplace where it's going to really make a difference. I felt like I had been involved with many many charities. I'm very big with the Boys & Girls Club. Somewhere along the road this year and that whole check will go to the Boys & Girls Club. And in greater Baltimore, my grandson's a member of that club. And just trying to help out the best way you can. The Boys & Girls Club is an organization that gives so much to kids. They work hard. They set a very very positive example for kids. And it's an organization that I think truly that I want to be part of. And many many charities and many programs I been involved in I felt that they have done the wrong things with the money that we raised and given them. Boys & Girls Club, every dime they make goes to those kids or every dime they receive. And I think it was a great organization to be involved with. So probably ‑‑ the Energizer, I think it's the Energizer or the tournament that we play in Baltimore, just outside of Baltimore, Hayfield, I don't know the name of the ‑‑ I think it's the Energizer Classic or whatever. But I think that particular week I'll probably announce that I'm going to donate the money to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Baltimore. And, you know, it's just, it, you know, just basic. You know, I remember couple weeks ago playing in the Blue Angels Classic I picked up a newspaper, I think it was Sunday or is the your Saturday morning and the, you know, the headline on the very very front page Iraqi police find 38 people dead or some gang shooting or some 14, 15 year old kid that's been shot. And I don't know about you guys, but I'm kind of tired of reading about that sort of stuff. It would be kind of neat to read about something that's positive. Kind of set a positive example for our kids. My 16 year old daughter reads the newspaper. I mean, goes through the newspaper every morning and she takes a pen and she circles out these things where some 14, 15 year old kid is on drugs they got shot or some kid stabbed a mother or and all that stuff and we talk about those things. And I think that's things like that happen because parent are not what they used to be. I think that when I was a kid growing up my parents raised me and spanked my butt and disciplined me when I needed it. I personally think today that because we have so many single parents out there that are trying to raise two or three kids, I think the kids are raising the parents. But, yeah, in my daddy's eyes when he said shut up, you didn't say nothing else. But even my 16 year old I could say, shut up, and she do like that, but I can tell when she walks away she says something under her breath, you know, and so, you know, by punishing her, sending her to her room she got lap top back there, stereo, television. I mean, so basically what you need to do, what we need to do I think as parents, is just sit down and spend time with these kids and just let them know that we're speaking from experience and when we tell you these things it's because we love you. We want you to grow up and be a nice citizen and do things in your community and that sort of stuff. And, you know, kids are the future of this country. And the younger generation, I mean I felt we lost two three generations there. Kids today just totally different. I think TV causes caused a lot of that stuff. I mean, my wife just had a new satellite dish put in at home and probably get 500 TV channels or whatever it may be. I don't know it goes up to nine hundred something and some nights when I'm home just kind of flicking through the TV channels you know some of this stuff they put on HBO and CINEMAX and SHOWTIME, you know, I remember you had to go to X rated movie to see it. And now you know the stuff is on 24/7. So kids you know kids they flip through that and see than of course they're going to do that. So anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is I just wanted to be maybe a part of that trend of trying to change the image of all kids. It just not kids from the inner city, from the ghetto, we come from kids where the families are very very wealthy and kids that live in my neighborhood where the parents do very very well and make lot of money make a lot of money live in a beautiful home all kids need help and I think kids want to be told or raised and I don't think parents spend, they spend enough time with them doing that. So if I can give something back on that line, you know, I don't really, I used to be big involved with UNCF that I felt raised a lot of money, but the money was misused. It could have not been, it's just my personal opinion. But when I got involved with the Boys & Girls Club I seen what they're doing. I see them show up at the office at 7 a.m. in the morning a stay there until 11 o'clock at night. Kids playing basketball reading books, being tutored. To me it's a very very positive thing.

Q. You talked about the PGA tour and then obviously on the Champions Tour, but trying to make that transition is usually pretty difficult. If you ‑‑ to basically change your life in a lot of ways?

JIM THORPE: I think it's different, Alan, you know, I think that somewhere in your life whether you're doing the right thing or wrong thing I think somewhere you have to make a change. Somewhere you have to realize that, hey, you know what, I'm on the twilight side of my life and if I don't make it happen it won't happen. I don't want to get 65 years old and have to go find a job. I think that's absolutely stupid. So you got to be smart enough to know that. I think we all ‑‑ I don't think Mike Tyson was, but you know most of us, you know, I think the most of us, most of us realize that ‑‑ especially golfers ‑‑ I mean there's a lot of guys that come in, especially on the Champions Tour today, a guy like Jay Haas, hell, he doesn't need to make any money. But when I came in, I needed to make money because the Regular TOUR provided me a very nice living, but I couldn't save any money. This way I can save some money I can give back to a game that's given me a lot. Making the transition wasn't very very hard for me. I have a wonderful wife whose always been in my corner, you know what I mean, always been in my corner. And even through the tough times when probably it would have been okay with me if she had walked away, you know what I mean. But she hung in there. She seen, maybe seen something within, something that I didn't know I had there. And, you know, she waited patient very very patiently, and now it's paying off, you know. And I think all of us somewhere in our life have to make a change. And I'm not saying my life was that bad, but I do like the idea that racetrack, horse tracks, dog tracks, casinos are not my first priority. I mean, there was a time that today, I mean this much rain going on here I would have been down here at the racetrack down in the Meadows in Pittsburgh someplace. I would have been in there betting horses, you know what I mean. But now it didn't bother me to play 18 holes of golf in the rain yesterday. It didn't bother me to play out there. And as far as going to the race track I probably won't go to another one this year. So I think that it's like anything else, I have always said if I could have met a guy like Vijay Singh and we had been around the same age and I could have met him at the same time that he came, that, you know I went on the tour, and Vijay and I became very good friends. And I used to sit and watch him work. I used to get tired of watching him work. Not realizing that it was going to pay off one day. But I would have done the same thing. Somehow or another I would have done the same thing and I think that my career might have been I might have won more golf tournaments, you never know. But no, it doesn't, I mean I think about it a lot and now versus reading a Playboy, I don't mind reading the bible. Something that I can get something positive from. And I talk to the Champions Tour I don't want to call him minister, I think that well, what would I call him? Chaplain maybe. Bible study, I don't really go to bible study that much, but I do talk to the pastor quite a bit. And when you meet people like him he basically tell you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear. When you meet people they pat you on the shoulder and say it's going to be okay. It's all right. Then they just the type of people you need to walk away from. But when you meet a man, he looks you straight in the eye and says, no, you need to do this, that. That was wrong, this is right. Then you can learn from that. And I spend time talking with him, not a lot of time but every four or five minutes, you know, two or three times on the week we get together for a quick four five minute conversation and he's a great guy to be around. And I like to say I feel like I learned a lot from him, from my pastor, and as bad as I hate to say it a lot of things my wife said years ago are true today.

Q. Just to follow‑up. Physically, the way your game was in regards to ball striking or everything else, that same game with a different life‑style on the PGA tour.

JIM THORPE: Works. Works. You know. My swing has always been a little unorthodox from playing football I was broken up a little bit and even have a pin in my left wrist, not a big one, but it's long enough I know it's there when I finish my swing. So I kind of cup my finish and finish this way. (Indicating). If I did it that way, then I get pain because I don't have flexibility that way just here. So it looks like, I mean it looks a little strange, but at times it works, you know. I get a lot of kidding from the guys about my swing. Which, you know, we all one big happy family and we're close enough that we can love each other just a little bit. But I wish I could have had swing like my brother Chuck who had a beautiful golf swing. I thought it was. On other hand, I felt that he had all the talent and didn't make it and I had just a little bit of talent and made it work. So I been doing this now since 1972 or '73 and there's some three putts I would like to snatch back, a duck hook or OB or something. But other than that I wouldn't want to change anything.

Q. You were talking about the racetracks and everything. How often would you go, what was like a typical day of winning or losing for you? You said there was some big scores, I'm sure there's some big losses?

JIM THORPE: I had some big scores. One time I cashed a 50,000. One race. And then I been to the racetrack where I lost every dime I had in my pocket, whether it was 200 or four thousand. I guess you could say I really had no value of money back there then. Actually just trying to make the big score one way or another. And it's funny because you know what? Going to the racetrack, if a track was open I was in, say within 50 or 60 miles, hell, I was going. Now I can stay next door in the hotel to a racetrack and not even look at it. I think you just outgrew those things. I think you become more of a racetrack, excuse me, I think racetrack, I had the wrong information about racetrack, and casinos, I thought racetracks and casinos were places you go where you could make money. I think you actually go for the entertainment. Not necessarily to kill time, but to pass time. And it took me awhile to learn that but the first time around, you know it was always, I mean it was very very exciting. It was a lot of fun. I just thank God today that I don't think about it. I think more about my golf game, think more about my kids and what they are life is going to be like and think more about my grand kid you know what I mean. What their life is going to be like. It's going to be very very difficult for them. It's going to be very very difficult. I talk about my past sometimes with them and growing up as a, let's say a poor kid. Grew up in the Carolinas, my dad was a greenskeeper for 50 some odd years. And I always tell them, no, we didn't have a lot of money, but we had a lot of unity, we had a lot of love. Mom and dad loved us. That's why they spanked our butts when we did wrong. And they, dad came on the golf course and snatched that bag off your shoulder and put you in the car and took you to school when you tried to caddy out there. And to me that's true love. You know what I mean. He could have let us stay out there and probably flunked out of school and today we wouldn't be where we are today. But there was many men and women that were strong enough back then to go out there and make your kids do the, do the right thing. Versus what they do today. So you know what? Basically just different times today. The casino and the racetrack and all that sort of stuff I like to say is history just like I used to hook the ball, now I fade it. So I say you know, its history now I want to play I'm 56 years old hopefully I got another good four five years and can walk away and say what you know what it's been great.

Q. Is there a story behind your being connected with Foxwoods?

JIM THORPE: Yeah, wonderful story behind that. Foxwoods came into my life at a time when I needed them. I wasn't playing a lot on the TOUR, I had wrist surgery back in 1987 and was kind of struggling a little bit. I think that somewhere about 1991 '92 I went to ‑‑ a friend of mine, they was doing a high rollers golf tournament. And he called me to come in and play with the high rollers and I said I'm not driving to Buffalo, New York to Connecticut. No way. And he says, listen, it might be worth your while to come down. And first of all I didn't have any money, you know so why should I go. You know what I mean. But anyway he was a very good friend mine. Guy named Paul Birdy that used to work for Northwestern Golf. So I drove down to this casino. Foxwoods. I never went to the casino I just went straight to the golf course to do a high rollers tournament that was, had like an 11 o'clock shotgun start. And what happened the skies opened up, just started to rain, rain, rain, rain. And so most of high rollers wanted to go back to the casino, I decided to stay at the golf course. And what happened there is out there after everybody left I was still there and I went out to the driving range after I checked with the head pro and said it was okay to hit a few balls on the range. There was a kid on the driving range. Hitting golf balls. A little fat, round kid. And so I walked over to him and started changing his grip and showing him how about his stance and this stuff and said, finally, let's go on the golf course and play four, five holes and he says, sir I can't do that, there' a car picking me up in a few minutes. And I don't know this kid from Adam. And anyway, I introduced myself to him, told him my name and that I played the PGA TOUR. And we talked about golf and that sort of stuff. We hit a few more balls and he rode down the first hole, we played some holes. And brought him back to the clubhouse when I seen that big long limo waiting him up there. And got in my car drove back to Buffalo, New York never stopped at the casino. Didn't have any money to blow anyway. At that point didn't have any money. I drove back to buffalo, my wife and I was having breakfast and the telephone rang. It was a lady. My wife says, there's some lady on the phone for you. And I says, Jesus Christ, who could this be? You know. And anyway there was a lady from Foxwoods she said, that a gentleman by the name of Kenny Rias want to have dinner with me and my wife if I didn't mind coming back to Foxwoods. I don't know this guy from Adam. You know what I mean. Anyway, I talked it over with the wife and I called back and I says, okay, we be there six o'clock on Friday, you know. And back in the car again. It was only about a six and a half hour drive. And we drove back down to Foxwoods there was a little restaurant called Cedars and I'm sitting back there, I told them I was a party with Mr. Rias and everybody knew who he was but me. So the wife and sat back there and just great big guy come walking in. He was about this wide. He's got this pony tail, and he was the chief of Indian Tribe that was the owners of the casino, which is the biggest casino in the world. And he come over and shake my hand and he says, I really want to thank you to what you did for my son. At that time we had the little baseball cards we used to carry. And I signed a couple cards for him and his friends and he says, all he talked about was Jim Thorpe, Jim Thorpe. I just had to meet you. And finally after about 30 seconds he said, how would you like to represent Foxwoods Resort and Casino? You know, carry estate a golf bag, our logo. I know you guys do that sort of stuff. And he said ‑‑ and then we finished, I said, well, I would love to. He says, get together with your agent and send me, send me a proposal. And I went home and I got together with Scott and Mike, we did this proposal and send it back but we didn't put a dollar sign on it. So he called about two days later he said, we got your proposal, sounds very very nice, but you didn't put a dollar sign on it. And he says, he says, um, I'll just fill the dollar sign in and send it back to you. If you like it, sign it and send it back. If not, good luck to you. And he sent the proposal back and I'm dying to open this thing up because at this particular point I'd take 2,000, you know. Shit, I'm dead broke, man. And anyway he signed me for 100,000 a year. I did about 10 days for them. And that was absolute perfect timing man because it came at a time where I was caught between that age of 4, 45, and 50, you no he just nothing to do and that's how the relationship started with Foxwoods.

Q. And it's been ‑‑

JIM THORPE: It's a life time deal.

Q. You mentioned your brother Chuck. And had all the talent and didn't make it is he older or younger and could you tell us what is he doing now?

JIM THORPE: Chuck just turned 61. Chuck played probably two three years on the PGA tour before I did. He's lived in Asheville, North Carolina. I don't think his health is that good now. I been up and seen him one time in the last four five years. Unfortunately my schedule keeps me going so much when I get home I kind of stay there. But I know he lives in Asheville. Hopefully this year we're having a family reunion up in the Carolinas we all get together get a chance to see him, get a chance to play golf with him. He was a beautiful talent. I remember him playing on the Champions Tour before I got on the Champions Tour, actually Senior Tour back when he was playing. He made a hole in one at the Long Island Classic up in Jericho, New York there. And I remember watching that you know and telling everybody that, man, if he just stick to his guns, keep his nose clean and mind his business he could make a lot of money out there. Once again he strayed off again. You know what I mean. And the golf passed him by at this particular point. But my whole family was a golfing family. I had two or three sisters who could have played the LPGA if circumstances would have been a little different. It was very very difficult as kids to get on the golf course and that stuff. And the advantage we had was my dad was the greenskeeper there for 55 years and we lived on the golf course. So we had a little bit of ‑‑ we had a little edge over quite a few people there. We could go out and beat balls and even in the backyard. The backyard was big enough we could hit golf balls and really build our own holes and play and that sort of stuff versus just playing on Monday which was caddy day. And then later on things changed and you started to see the transition in golf. You seen a lot more African Americans playing the game. I don't know why we don't have more on the PGA tour than the Champions Tour. We have done everything we can do to introduce golf into the inner cities and schools and try to get more people of color involved in the game. And for some reason we just don't have, from the African American standpoint, we just don't have it. And I don't know, hopefully the First Tee program, probably not during my lifetime, but I think with the First Tee program we will bring up some more young black talent and that sort of stuff. But I mean it's going to take while down the road. And I thought maybe when Tiger Woods came on the scene that that would really ‑‑ I think it opened up a lot of doors and did, I think it brought a lot of people of color into the game. But for some reason or another we just don't have it today. I don't know why. But when I came on the tour back in 1975, my first year on tour, 19, yeah, I qualified 1975. When I came on the tour in 1976, started Monday qualifying, we had more black players then than today. And they said then that's when times was really tough. You know, me, the first, first African American player back there. But today everything is open and it's right there for you, you can play. Go do it. But for some reason we just don't have it, man.

So hopefully through these programs that we're involved with now that we'll see more people of color trying to get on the tour and that sort of stuff. From a Champions Tour standpoint, we got years before I think there will be another guy behind me.

JULIUS MASON: Jim Thorpe at the 66th Senior PGA Championship.

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