Three generations of one of golf’s great families on Ryder Cups, reflections on life and their favorite fire pits
By Matt Ginella
Needless to say, Goat Hill Park in Oceanside, Calif., is a special place. Pull up, grab your clubs, throw a leash on your dog, walk to the recently renovated range and you never know who you might see. There’s Dean Wilson, Mike Weir, Bill Murray, Charley Hoffman, Geoff Ogilvy, Kelly Slater, Xander Schauffele, Byron Scott or Bubba Watson?!
But on this day, the day that inspired a podcast and a feature, I saw three generations of Stocktons: Dave Stockton Sr., Dave Stockton Jr., and Junior’s son Jake, who’s a sophomore at Arizona State.
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Senior won 10 times on Tour, two PGA Championships, 14 more on the Champions Tour, which includes another three majors. He played at USC, turned pro in 1964 and was a member of the 1971 and 1977 Ryder Cup teams—both were winners—and he captained the winning Ryder Cup team in 1991 for Kiawah’s “War by the Shore.” He also played a role in the 2004 Ryder Cup, which we get to in the podcast.
Stockton, who is not yet in the World Golf Hall of Fame, will tell you he has had a better career as a short-game and putting instructor than he had as a player, working with the likes of Annika, Phil and Rory. He’s married to his wife, Cathy, whom we hear from throughout the podcast, and they’ll celebrate Senior’s 80th birthday in November. They have two sons, David Jr., and Ron, or “Ronnie,” who both played professionally and are also instructors.
Junior, who played 10 years as a pro and who won two Nationwide Tour events, is a fixture at the Goat. And he often brings his son, Jake, who spent most of his childhood playing sports like water polo. But now, at 6-feet 5-inches, he has turned to golf and is off a 7-handicap. I got paired with all three Stocktons the day they were preparing for the Herdsman, a two-man summer tournament at the Goat, in which Senior was going to partner with Jake. Junior was playing with a longtime friend.
As you can imagine, going all 18 with three Stocktons was a special day. Not only did I get some tips but it was a treat to watch them all interact with each other. One Stockton in particular came up clutch. Any guesses? The end of the video is the answer.