Tristan Gretzky, son of Wayne, signs to play college golf at Pepperdine

Tristan Gretzky College Golf Pepperdine Tristan Gretzky/Instagram

Tristan Gretzky, son of Wayne, signs to play college golf at Pepperdine

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Tristan Gretzky, son of Wayne, signs to play college golf at Pepperdine

Last year at the U.S. Amateur, Tristan Gretzky watched studiously as he followed the final match at Riviera Country Club. Yes, Gretzky’s dad, Wayne, is considered to be the greatest NHL player of all time, holding records for points, goals and assists. His brother, Trevor, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. And his likely future brother-in-law, PGA Tour golfer Dustin Johnson, is a major champion and recent World No. 1.

But Gretzky knew he still could learn a lot from making the short trip down from his home in Westlake Village, Calif., to Pacific Palisades to witness two of amateur golf’s best, Doug Ghim and Doc Redman, battle for the Havemeyer Trophy.

Plus, he really loves golf – so why not?

At the time, Gretzky was 17 and not really on the radar of many top Division I coaches. One thing he did have was raw, untapped talent and a powerful golf swing. With the help of instructor George Gankas, who also works with top-ranked collegian and Gretzky’s friend Matt Wolff, Gretzky drastically improved his game in the past year and started to grab the attention of some top-flight programs.

Last month, Gretzky, 18, verbally committed to his hometown school, Pepperdine, and last week made things official by signing his national letter of intent with the Waves.

“Tristan has impressed us with his athleticism and attitude,” Pepperdine coach Michael Beard said. “He’s a late bloomer with a great upside. He’s a great fit for our program and the university.”

The Waves, of course, are a rising golf program, as well. Pepperdine has finished either first or second in the West Coast Conference Championship in each of the past four seasons. Two seasons ago, the Waves advanced to its first NCAA Championship since 2011. Through this fall, Pepperdine is ranked 11th in the country.

CENTURY CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 01: (L - R) Tristan Gretsky, guest, Ty Gretzky, actress Janet Jones, Emma Gretzky, NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and Trevor Gretzky attend the Los Angeles premiere of "In Search Of Greatness" released by IMG Films, AOS Art Of Sport and Moviepass Films at AMC Century City 15 theater on November 1, 2018 in Century City, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Tristan Gretzky (far left) and his family, including mom Janet Jones and dad Wayne Gretzky,  attend a film premiere in Los Angeles earlier this month. (Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Gretzky, who helped Oaks Christian to CIF Southern Section Central Coast Division titles in each of the past two years, is excited to make an impact next fall.

He is joined in Pepperdine’s 2019 signing class by two AJGA All-Americans, honorable-mention Dylan Menante and first-teamer William Mouw.

“The players and coaching staff are the best in the country,” Gretzky said, “and I’m looking forward to spending the next couple of years grinding with them.”

While there’s no secret that Gretzky doesn’t possess the junior-golf credentials of Mouw and Menante, Gretzky does have the desire to get better, evidenced by his willingness to watch a tournament that he didn’t even qualify for, and despite his family history plays with a chip on his shoulder.

The end goal? It’s just like these top recruits who Gretzky admires.

“My life goal is to be on the PGA Tour and Pepperdine is the college that will give me the chance to make it,” Gretzky said.

Lofty, yes. But nothing a Gretzky can’t achieve. Gwk

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