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U.S. Senior Open: Bob Tway part of the fabric of Oak Tree National

1986 PGA Championship winner was the first Oak Tree player to enjoy big-time success.
By Mike Baldwin Published: July 8, 2014

Tway earned $15.8 million on the PGA Tour, 77th all-time. He’s added nearly $2 million on the Champions Tour but has often confessed he probably tinkered with his swing too often throughout the years.

“I’ve had a good career but I think it should have been better,” Tway said. “I feel I could have won more tournaments. Sometimes trying to get better, it can backfire. If I knew that back then I’d have changed some things, but that’s not the way life works.

“All in all, I’m thankful I’ve got to play professional golf since I left college. Not many people get to go through life and wake up every day and enjoy doing what they’re doing. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career, but I’ve been fortunate to play golf for a living, which is what I always wanted to do.”

Tway, 55, owns 13 career pro wins, including eight PGA Tour wins in addition to winning the 1985 and 1987 Oklahoma Open. He plans to continue to play on the Champions Tour for the foreseeable future.

“My game is not at the level it needs to be, but I still love to play,” Tway said. “I still believe there’s a lot of good golf for me. I’ve hit the ball fairly well, but my scoring hasn’t been where it needs to be. These guys out here play great. To win, you can’t have parts of your game you’re not doing well.”

Tway is 49th on this year’s money list. He’s posted only one top-10 finish and hasn’t won since he captured the 2003 Canadian Open.

Still, Tway, Verplank and Wood know the 7,219-yard layout better than anyone in the 156-player field.

“Bob probably would admit his short game isn’t the best it’s ever been, but he hits the ball so well,” said Steve Kimmel, Oak Tree’s director of golf. “The farther they move it back, the better it will be for him. This tournament is so great for all of our guys. You just don’t see five or six guys get to play on their home course.”

Tway, who lives near the driving range, believes his game is close enough he could make a run this weekend if everything comes together.

“It’s like I said at media day – it doesn’t matter how often you play a course if you’re not hitting it well,” Tway said. “Now, if you know a course and you’re playing well it can be a huge advantage. I definitely know where to not miss. I’d love to play well. I’m very much looking forward to it. This is home.”

Tway’s influence on Oak Tree is not lost on those that have been associated with the club the past four decades.

“Bob loves the game of golf,” Dobson said. “Even though it’s his vocation, if he wasn’t on the Champions Tour he’d still be playing in our weekly Wednesday game. In fact, he plays on Wednesdays when he’s not in an event. That’s how much he loves the atmosphere here at Oak Tree.”