Principal Charity Classic Pates lake plunges still famous 2009: By Rick

Principal Charity Classic Pates lake plunges still famous

BY RICK BROWN &bull May 28, 2009 The Register's Rick Brown talks with a different member of the Champions Tour each day during the

Principal Charity Classic. Jerry Pate was 22 when he won the 1976 U.S. Open, hitting a dramatic final-round 5-iron to the 18th green at Atlanta Athletic Club. His colorful career includes winning a PGA Tour event in Memphis in 1981 using an orange golf ball. Q: Does anyone ever bring up the orange golf ball A: Occasionally. But there are two things I hear nearly every day I'm on a golf course. One is the dive I did into the lake three times after winning at Memphis (1981), Tournament Players Club (1982 Players Championship) and the Outback (2006). The other thing I hear is, 'I saw you hit that 5-iron at the U.S. Open.' The orange ball is not as high on the list. Q: Do you ever wonder what your career (eight PGA Tour wins, two Champions Tour wins) would have been like if you hadn't fought injuries so much A: Oh, man, I'll tell you, I'm still struggling with some little shoulder problems, but I'm still able to play. I've had six shoulder surgeries and a knee surgery. Once you get injured and you start favoring certain things in your swing, you tend to risk re-injury. And that's what I've done. Q: Despite the injuries, you sound like you have no regrets.

A: I'm happy. I got to do a lot of things. And I've got a couple of good businesses I can fall back on. You can play golf longer than any other sport, but you still can't play it forever. At some point in time you've got to call in the dogs.

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