2004: Roesch earns his 15 minutes of fame and more

By Jay A. Coffin

Southampton, N.Y.

Success means different things to different people. Not many, if any, enjoyed more success at the U.S. Open than David Roesch, who transformed from relative unknown to media darling.

The affable NGA/Hooters Tour veteran cried when he qualified for the Open three weeks ago. After four rounds at Shinnecock Hills, he wept again, this time when he gave wife Donna a hug.

In between, Roesch went through a roller coaster of emotions.

A first-round 68 boosted Roesch (pronounced ROH-sh) into a tie for fourth place. When he saw his name on the leaderboard ahead of Tiger Woods, Roesch asked an official to take a picture so he could have lifelong proof. Roesch awoke the next morning to find his picture in various newspapers throughout the country.

“I went from playing on the Hooters Tour where nobody cares what you do to the front of the New York Times,” Roesch said. “Not the front of the sports page, the front page.”

Roesch, 30, easily made the cut after a second-round 73, almost assuring him his biggest payday (he won $20,000 for a Hooters Tour victory in 2002). Roesch shot 74 in the third round without the support of his wife, who had left New York for a day to attend her brother’s wedding (Roesch was scheduled to participate in the wedding but pulled out when he made the cut).

The final round evoked even more emotions. Roesch’s father, Frank, flew from Wisconsin to watch his son play golf for the first time in many years. David and Frank long have had a strained relationship because Frank has never fully supported David’s career, saying he wished his son would get a “real job.”

But they shared a Father’s Day hug on the practice green and David was on his way.

That was just the beginning. Roesch fired his caddie, Tom Joern, in the middle of the first fairway and replaced him with swing coach Richard Abele, who was pulled out of the gallery. Roesch wouldn’t discuss specifics of the firing saying, “I’m very disappointed, he had been good all week.” He went on to shoot 80 and tie for 31st at 295, good for $41,759.

“I’m totally exhausted right now,” he said. “I wish I could go lay down and sleep for three straight days.”

In January, the Wisconsin native helped TaylorMade-Adidas Golf assemble launch monitors at various club professional events in Florida. If he didn’t see results this summer – such as improved scores and

more victories on the Hooters Tour – Roesch likely was going to pursue a job within the golf industry. Four days in New York changed everything.

“I played in the best tournament in the world with the best players in the world on probably one of the hardest courses in the world,” Roesch said. “I know I can play with these guys, and I now know I belong out here. I just have to get out here.”

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