If anybody was destined to have a career in sports, it was Jay Delsing. His father, Jim, played with Joe DiMaggio in New York and Al Kaline in Detroit in a 10-year big-league career. His cousin, Tim Twellman, was an outstanding soccer player in the NASL; and his nephew, Taylor Twellman, was an MVP in the MLS. But Jay decided not hit curve balls or blast penalty kids: He wanted to hit wedges.
Delsing grew up when golf wasn't real cool, but he was real good. When he was 16, Delsing almost won the United States Junior in Delaware. That put the SLUH grad on the map. UCLA offered—and Delsing accepted—a scholarship where he was a part of the one of the most talented college teams of that era. The team included future professionals Corey Pavin, Tom Pernice Jr. and Duffy Waldorf.
Delsing joined the tour in 1985. He has played in almost 600 tournaments, and his career earnings are almost $4 million. He has won twice on the Nationwide Tour also. Delsing had to leave golf for more than two years because of back surgery. In January, he wrote a letter to the PGA, asking to play in the PGA Senior Championship in his hometown at Bellerive Country Club. They accepted. Delsing responded with a rock-solid week of making the cut and shooting 8 over par for the championship. We talked a few days afterwards.
Describe your week.
The golf part of it was really fun. I know now I can still play. I can hold up physically. But having my four daughters there and playing in front of my hometown crowd was great. It was overwhelming for me at certain times—really awesome.
Biggest thrill ever in golf.
It was not during a tournament. I got to play three days in a row with Arnold Palmer. I felt like I needed to genuflect when we got to the first hole. We arrive on the tee box and he says, Jay, why don't you go first? I hit 350 straight, and the feeling of walking down a fairway with Arnold just chatting was something I will never forget.
Best golf you have ever played.
I shot 61 on a Sunday in Memphis. I started the day at 50th or so, and I finished the day 4th or 5th.
Tell me about the organization you run, The First Tee.
It's my chance to give back to the community. I want to show people how great the game of golf is and how many opportunities there are. I have been lucky, and golf golf has been so good to me. We teach the game of golf and life skills to kids in the area.
What do you hope to accomplish the rest of your career?
I feel like I have never played like I am capable of playing. I would like to see my talent shine. I think my body will hold up. I plan on playing some more events this summer and going to Qualifying School in November.
1. Every coach at every level should read this passage from Collossians 3:21: Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
2. John Mozeliak could be the smartest and luckiest GM. I know he's plenty smart, but did he really think when he traded a minor-leaguer named Zack Cox that he would be getting an All-Star closer in return in Edward Mujica?
3. Has any actor in history ever had more of a contrast in roles than Matt Damon? He used to beat everybody up as Jason Bourne; and now, this month on HBO, he's Liberace's lover.
4. I think the Rams have had their best off-season since their Superbowl year. I am not sure if they are a 10-win team yet, but almost everything they have done makes sense. Stan Kroenke spent a lot of money to get Jeff Fisher here, and like with most of his investments, it will pay off.
5. Four months after Lance Armstrong's televised interview with Oprah, he still hasn't apologized to those he tried to destroy. Have we ever had a guy in sports who has done so much good (raising $300 million-plus for cancer research) and been so bad to so many people?