Wildman’s Q&A: Former Duke standout Adam Long

Former Duke golfer Adam Long during the 2009 John Hayt Intercollegiate.
Former Duke golfer Adam Long during the 2009 John Hayt Intercollegiate. ( Tracy Wilcox )

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

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Today on Wildman’s Corner, I catch up with recent Duke grad Adam Long, who had a strong career with the Blue Devils, during which he had 22 career top-20 finishes and graduated second on the school’s career stroke-average list (72.83). Long is now trying life as a professional golfer, but recently took a stroll down college golf’s memory lane:

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Question: You’re a graduate of Duke, and I have to imagine your diploma is an impressive piece of paper to talk about. Have you been able to take advantage of it yet, or network it a bit?

Answer: Not so much yet, but I’m sure that day will come pretty soon. I have used it a bit for playing certain golf courses that allow me to use that connection, but right now I’m just using it to get in to Duke basketball games.

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Q: What was it like being recruited by and playing for Rod Myers?

A: It was fantastic. I only had a short semester with him before he went in to the hospital, so it was only four tournaments I got to play for him. However, the everyday, day-to-day operation was just always taken care of. I was really nervous that first semester of college, because as a freshman you just never know what to expect. I was worried with school and everything, but it was like having your dad or grandfather there to help you along the way. You just knew everything was going to be OK, and with golf everything was going to be in order.

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Q: What was the transition like from the time O.D. Vincent took over for Coach Myers?

A: The toughest time was the second semester of my freshman year, after Coach Myers passed, and we just weren’t sure who was going to get the job next. We didn’t know if our assistant coach Brad Sparling was going to get it, or if they were going to get someone else. That was probably the hardest time there. When O.D. came in, though, I was like actually kind of worried he was going to change everything and I was unsure of what was going to happen. I loved him from the first day he was there, and he really shook things up for the better, I think. He got guys in the program to think about winning national titles, and being the best. Before we had the status quo of being a good team, but he really pushed us to get to that next level.

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Q: Let’s go back to your freshman year. We’re going to do a match between your team and the Duke women team. Who is going to win?

A: The guys, absolutely.

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Q: Come on, they were loaded. They were nearly unbeatable. The girls won national titles!

A: We did well too, though. I think we still would have taken them, and if it was match play, we would have smoked them. I’m not going to sit here and say the girls would have beaten us, but I know we could have taken them. We never played each other or had a rivalry, though. We both rooted for each other and supported one another.

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Q: What was your favorite part about being a student-athlete at Duke?

A: The basketball games, for sure. Unfortunately, just being an athlete you don’t get any perks for tickets. You still have to go wait in line for hours, and sometimes overnight, just to get a seat.

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Q: Let’s get a tidbit of a Duke education. What’s something interesting you learned at Duke that you can share with us?

A: That’s a tough one. I’m going to say my senior year, when I took a blow-off course, which was acting. (Laughing.) It was Professor Oberski, and he got us to open up and do some crazy-goofy plays like that all the time. It was a nice change of pace from all the rigid, long hours of studying for the other serious classes. Once I was a mad Irishman. I had to constantly throw temper tantrums and throw things around and look angry.

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Q: If you could go back and re-do one shot at Duke, where and what would it be?

A: One that sticks out, but it wasn’t that important of an event, was when I was playing in Myrtle Beach my freshman year at the Hackler. I wasn’t in contention to win, but I was in contention to have a top 5 or something. I laid up on a par 5, and my third shot went over the green and into the water, actually. That shot was so stupid, and it’s one of those shots that have always stuck in my mind, and I just want to do that shot over so bad!

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