Golfer achieves dream of playing in US Senior Open
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—One golfer saw his lifelong dreams come true at the Warren Golf Course during the 40th U.S. Senior Open.
Don Wright’s journey to the U.S. Senior Open has been nothing short of miraculous.
After missing one put to qualify in 2018, the Florida resident was determined not to be denied a spot in this year’s field.
But long after the tournament leaders have teed off, long after he missed the cut to play the weekend, you’ll find Wright at Warren Golf Course, realizing what he had accomplished, just by being there.
“Because the U.S. Open is so prestigious. Because it’s the event of all events, it’s what every golfer dreams of doing. I was not only representing myself, but all the other golfers who have not had the opportunity to play in a U.S. Open. I thought about all those things all at once. And I was fortunate to hit it down the fairway,” Wright said.
Wright’s journey to Notre Dame, by any measure, is a miracle.
“My mother raised me and my brother by herself. In upstate New York in a small town. She never ever told us we were poor. She made us reach for the sky. She said I could be the president of the United States if i wanted to be. That I could be whatever I wanted and fly as high I wanted,” Wright said.
Though a multi-sport athlete, Wright chose golf and received a scholarship to Texas Southern University. He then dedicated himself to making the PGA tour.
However, after years on the mini tours, Wright was out of money.
“I injured my back about 10 years ago and I thought my golf career was over. And I actually retired in 2012 because of the injury,” Wright said.
Wright shifted his focus to helping teens achieve their dreams after he was so close to reaching his own.
“You have to give back. What I require for from every junior is help someone else and pull someone up when you are able to,” Wright said.
But Wright pulled himself through the obstacle. His back healed. His swing became special again.
As an alternate in 2018 U.S. Senior Open field, Wright was determined to achieve a spot at Notre Dame the following year.
“I have a 12-footer for par I roll it in. The other gentlemen missed their par putts. USGA official comes over and says ‘welcome to the U.S. Open.’ My son is 14 now and he’s never seen me play at a high level. So this was really for him. I wanted him to see that you can achieve anything in life.”
Wright has said he would even leave his current job to pursue his lifelong dream.
“It’s a pretty good business, but I would give it up to play golf again. What better job is there. You get to play with guys with David Toms and Steve Stricker. These guys are my heroes,” Wright said.
Wright plans on attending qualifying school so that he can give the PGA Champions Tour a real shot.