Hale Irwin grew up in Joplin, Missouri, playing golf on a nine hole course that had sand for greens. He learned patience and the intricacies of the game by playing on sub-standard courses. However, it is Irwin’s competitive fire that has driven him to be not only one of the most successful golfers of his era, but also one of the University of Colorado’s all-time great football players.
Though he is best known for his dominance on the PGA Tour, Irwin first was an All-Big Eight Conference defensive back at CU. So talented was he at football, CU named him to it’s All-Century Team.
Away from the gridiron, Hale shone on the golf course. He won several Colorado Medal Championships, and in 1967 he was the NCAA National Golf Champion. At the same time he was an Academic All-American.
From the time he turned professional in 1968 until he joined the Senior PGA tour in 1995, Irwin won twenty tournaments. His victories include the 1979 World Cup Championship and three U.S. Open titles. His third U.S. Open victory, in 1990, at age 45, made him the oldest man to ever win this major tournament.
I never underestimate my opponent, but I never underestimate my talents.