Joel Dahmen joins from the 2020 PLAYERS Championship on the heels of news that there would be no fans in attendance (which would later result in the tournament being canceled). Dahmen weighs in on Patrick Reed, golf in the Olympics, and the one circumstance that would guarantee him a top 10 spot in the world golf rankings.
Announcer: The Golf Show on 710 ESPN Seattle. Jim Moore (00:06): As Shon mentioned earlier in The Golf Show, and you're listening to The Golf Show here with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe, 710 ESPN Seattle, the golf has been canceled there at the Players Championship, but we caught up with Joel Dahmen, a former Husky golfer. He's from Clarkston, Washington, and he's just a terrific guy. We talked to him after the first round. At that point, he thought play was going to continue, as we all did, but I think you're going to enjoy this. It was sure fun catching up with Joel Dahmen. We're pleased to welcome into the show, The Golf Show here with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe; he's Joel Dahmen. He might rank as my favorite interview ever, after the last time we talked to Joel Dahmen in June and Joel, hey, thanks for joining us again. Joel Dahmen (00:47): Yeah, happy to be here. You're kind of putting a lot of pressure on me right now, though. Jim Moore (00:51): Well, I think you always come through. You know, you're at the top of my list of favorite Huskies all time. Very short list but I love you, Joel, from the last time— Joel Dahmen (00:58): Probably a real short length, I'm sure. Jim Moore (01:01): (laughs) You're at the Players Championship and, you know, just to be honest with all the listeners, we're talking to you here on Wednesday, and it's Saturday here, but Joel, we're curious to start with the sports world has really been shaken, the entire world has been shaken by the coronavirus, and it appears that the Players Championship is still underway, still golf being played there, no other sports of going on. How are your fellow golfers taking this right now? Joel Dahmen (01:30): Yeah, that's a good question. I think we're all a little surprised maybe. I mean maybe everybody, you know, on the earth is a little surprised at kind of what's happened maybe in the last just 24 hours or so. Feels like everything's basically shutting down. But I think golf is a hair different in the fact that we're outside, we don't need to have fans in the arena, I guess. You know, in our sense, we can play golf pretty much anywhere. So I don't know. I guess everybody's just really curious about what's next. You know, when your job, week to week, is up in the air. But I can definitely potentially see us shutting down along with everything else after this week. As much as we travel, as much as international travel we do, you know, players and families from all over the world. So yeah, I think everything's just kind of up in the air. We're gonna play the last three games with no fans out here, so that'll be different. But I think everybody's just kinda trying to play their best golf because it is a humongous league for us golf-wise, but we're also kind of just very concerned on what's going on around the world, and I guess we hope that you know, everybody stays safe. Shon Crewe (02:42): What's changed for you guys as players? Anything different in terms of precautions that they're having you take? Joel Dahmen (02:47): Yeah, that's a good question. They canceled all autographs this week, so you know, there's none of that close contact, which most of the time, you know, thousands of kids running around. So there's none of that. They have extra sanitizers and hand washing stations all over the place, and I think everybody's just being a little more vigilant. Instead of [thirsty] handshakes, we're doing some elbow bumps or some fist bumps instead. I think everybody's just kind of being a little more cautious. But nothing's really changing in our actual day-to-day preparations out here or, you know, anything like that. I think player and family dining was a little more scarce the last day or two than it normally is, but yeah, as far as golf is concerned, it's pretty much business as usual on the golf course, but just a few more fist bumps and some more hand washing. Jim Moore (03:40): So Joel, do you think it'll be easier or harder or just about the same to play without any fans there in the gallery? Joel Dahmen (03:46): Yeah, that's a great question. Half of us kinda laugh at it because we don't have any fans out there anyway; some [left here are around] 16, 17 or 18, so you know, that'll be no different, but my wife can still come out. If you have a Tour credential already then you can come out. So for me, I mean it'll be pretty normal, but I mean imagine for those guys like Brooks and, you know, Fowler and GT and Spieth and those guys, I'm sure it's just gonna be a little bit different for them, but it'll be probably a nice break for them as well. It's gonna feel a little bit different, you know, 'cause they are at the fifth major I guess, you know, it's a huge golf tournament for us, but it might be nice for them as well. They don't have people yelling at them all the time when they're walking around, and it's always nice to get a nice clap and an ovation for a good shot or a good putt, but I imagine it'll be pretty normal, and for most of us, it'll be pretty normal, that's for sure. Shon Crewe (04:44): Okay, I want to switch gears here now. Your finish at Bay Hill last week qualified you for the Open. I'm curious, when you have something like that on the line, like in this case, qualifying for a major, or when you're standing over a putt that's going to make you a lot of money, I mean is there a point in which you know what's at stake? Do you care? Are you thinking about it, or are you just blocking it out? Joel Dahmen (05:04): Yeah, well, you can't block it. I mean, you can't really control your thoughts that well. All you can do is go through your routine and hit the best shot you can. But players, we're not over six,eight-footer thinking "Oh, this putt is for X amount of money or this putt is to go to the Open championship." When the ball goes in or out, when it either goes in or you miss, that's immediately the first thought is, "Oh, that made me a lot of money. Oh, that just qualified me for the Open. Oh no, that was a top-five this week." That's more the thought. And there's certainly plenty of nerves. I mean, I didn't know exactly how it was all going to unfold obviously last week, but I knew it played so difficult and I knew that it was an Open qualifying week and I figured the top five would probably get it done - kind of depends on how that leader board shapes out, but yeah, I made some good parts coming in. I made a great like probably 12-footer for par on 17, played key putter for par on 18 from like 60 feet. So there was plenty of nerves coming down the stretch, but you can't block it out. You get nervous. You're going to think about it in-between times. But when you kind of actually get into the moment and into the shot, you're… wouldn't say robotic in it, but you know, we've done it so much that there's still plenty of nerves, obviously, but just a huge relief when the ball actually goes in the hole, and you look up to the board, you know you're gonna finish top-five and make a pile of money and get on over to the Open championship. Jim Moore (06:30): We're talking to Joel Dahmen, former Husky golfer, the pride of Clarkston, Washington. He's at the Players Championship this week. It's Jim Moore and Shon Crewe here on The Golf Show. And Joel, I've read interviews, and I listened to the interview we had with you last year, and I know winning is important to you, but I also appreciated that you talked about, in one of the interviews, that being number one in the FedEx Cup and winning $15 million would be a big deal to you too and that if you did something like that, you could just hang out with your buddies, play with your dog and just relax. And so I really appreciate that. I mean, you just always seem to have a good perspective on things. Joel Dahmen (07:06): Yeah, thank you. I mean, I've been through a lot, I guess as far as health and our family, losing my mom and my brother and I having cancer, so golf for me has always been, I don't know, I guess I have a little more in perspective than other people. It's not life and death, but I'm pretty realistic about my golf abilities. I mean, I believe in who I am. I'm never going to be number one in the world. I'm never going to win a FedEx Cup. But that doesn't mean I can't be very competitive out here. You know, and I'm working my butt off as hard as I ever have. I'm practicing hard. I want to win. Being in that moment is a ton of fun, but the great thing about the PGA Tour is that if you finish 7th or 10th or 15th, they still pay you, and I can still have a pretty good life with my wife and hopefully future kids down the road. So it affords me a lot of fun things, and I just love being competitive. I've always been competitive in whatever I've done, and you know, there's nothing like the adrenaline pumping [on the background] on Sunday with a chance to win, and I'd like to get there more often. I guess the last couple of weeks I've been out, it's been pretty good. I've had some chances this year, so that's been fun, and it kind of feeds you. I mean it makes you want it more and more. So it makes you practice a little bit more, it makes you hungry for that first win and hopefully many on after that. But yeah, I mean golf is… I'm just a small-town kid from Clarkston, Washington, who had some big dreams, obviously, but it is just golf, and I still really enjoy drinking beer and listening to music on the golf course with my buddies back home. We do that a lot as well, and that's still very enjoyable for me. Jim Moore (08:48): Are you playing at the Masters? Have you qualified for the Masters? Joel Dahmen (08:52): I have not. Top 50 in the world after the match play gets in, so I mean selfishly, I would love to… hopefully, that golf doesn't get canceled because if I can play, finish off this week okay, that would get into my match play, which is top 64 in the world and if you play well there, then you can bump up and maybe get in the top 50, which would get me into the Masters. So yeah, but I'm playing, I'm playing well right now, I'd like to keep going, but you either gotta win or be top 50 in the world to get into the Masters and hopefully, one of those few things will happen. Jim Moore (09:28): All right, I gotta call you on something here, Joel, because I read a Golf Digest interview where you said, "I'll never be a top ten golfer, I don't hit it far enough," and yet you, Joel Dahmen, you told us last June, "If you let me have three beers before I tee off and another beer every three holes, I'd be top ten in the world." So which is it, Joel? Joel Dahmen (09:49): (laughs) I stand by my statement of [if I had] a six-pack during the round. I think I would be top ten in the world. And not to say that my game gets that much better. It does do okay. I just think that everybody else would maybe struggle. Maybe some of those top players don't have as much fun with their buddies on the golf course, and they just can't quite handle it. If everybody had to have something, yeah, I think I could definitely be top ten in the world. I even start hitting the ball a little bit farther. I think everybody does that. Shon Crewe (10:20): Well, I'll say it's been great following you over the years and not only continuing to see your game evolve but your fan base. I was just going to ask, do more people recognize you now when you're out and about? Joel Dahmen (10:33): Not out and about. My wife and I, we're in the airport, and some guy's kinda like said "Joel," it was like a reactionary thing, and I like turned and he was like, "Oh, I didn't know it was you. Sorry, I'm just a huge golf fan." That happens not often out and about, but at tournaments, certainly. I mean, my bucket hat has kind of taken off on a life of its own, and it's been fun to kind of [give] that a little bit and help support MD Anderson with that and raise some money for cancer research. But just that, I mean I have a mustache right now and apparently, a pretty gross mustache is pretty popular with most people as well. So between a bucket hat and a mustache and some good golf the last year too, it's definitely… my fan base has certainly grown, mixed with a little bit of social media and good tweets every now and then. It's kind of been a fun last year too, and it's fun to interact with fans and, you know, hang out with them and what a [respite] that is. Jim Moore (11:37): Joel Dahmen is with us here on The Golf Show, Jim Moore and Shon Crewe, 710 ESPN Seattle. Joel has made over $3.5 million in the last two years on the PGA Tour, number 85 in the world. And you're playing there in the Players Championship, can you give us an idea of what it's like to be on that 17th tee, facing that shot at the Island Green, because there's a part of me that sits here and goes man, these guys are the best players in the world, and they can't handle a shot that's 130 yards? Joel Dahmen (12:05): Yeah, very good point. If we're playing together or just hanging out, it's really not that hard a golf shot, but when the winner gets almost $3 million this week, I think third place gets a million dollars this week, that 130-yard shot looks like a tougher. Today, it was 144, it was a back ten, but it was a little downwind. So I heard that the first 72 golfers to go through there did not handle the water. So today, like today, it's not too bad, but if the wind flips and blows into you, that target looks a lot smaller, and it looks even smaller on Saturday and Sunday if you're in contention. So I would bet that most people probably the green as normal but when they get in front of a couple of thousand people and some dollars on the line, the green looks a lot smaller, that's for sure. Shon Crewe (12:55): Okay Joel, FedEx Cup, it's considered the grand prize and now a way to put a bow on the end of the season. It's obviously worth a lot of money, but are we at all at a point yet where players are starting to think of it as a championship? Joel Dahmen (13:10): No. Don't tell the PGA Tour that. No, I mean, for guys like me, it's really making the Tour Championship, and that's great, but I mean everybody only talks about the money out there, so if you make a million dollars, you get your job for the next year, and that's all. You know, or if there's one top 125 on the FedEx Cup list, well, if you get to a million dollars, you get to keep your card as well. So everyone still talks about the money. They don't walk out to a golf course and say ooh, I just made 75 FedEx Cup points. Like oh, sweet, [I just got] 100 grand. So we haven't quite converted over to that, and I don't know if we ever really well, but [thank you to] the FedEx and the sponsorship of the PGA Tour. But I don't think it's really… sure, the 50 million's incredible to those top guys, but realistically, only 20 or 30 guys actually are good enough to probably win that, so that's just the rich get richer and then the rest of us are, you know, trying to get into that Tour championship and that is also a very nice prize as well. Jim Moore (14:21): Joel, is there a notable player out there that we all know that we might have a perception of where the perception isn't really true about them? Joel Dahmen (14:29): Do you have somebody in mind you're thinking of? Jim Moore (14:31): I don't really have anybody in mind, and I just thought I would, you know, throw a question out there that maybe didn't make a whole lot of sense to you. Joel Dahmen (14:38): No. It tough to think of anyone off the top of your head. I'd say most parts, they're pretty true. I mean, the media is out here with us week to week. In the day and age of social media, you can get a pretty good idea of who guys are. You know, Tony Finau's one of the nicest guys. He deserves that. Jordan Spieth is incredible. Rickie Fowler's a great guy. There's some guys that aren't, but they also have that rap as well, and it's probably deserved. So there's not too many of the big guys that, you know, whatever their rap is with the media, it's probably pretty accurate in some aspects. Jim Moore (15:28): Okay, all right. I do have one guy in mind, but it's Patrick Reed. Is he a guy that most players just kinda stay away from or is he an okay guy? Joel Dahmen (15:38): He stays away from all the other players, really. He's kinda just isolated himself into his bubble. He practices by himself all the time, you know, practice rounds by himself. He just kinda sticks with him in his little camp and, you know, works great for him. He's top ten in the world. He's won a couple of times. Yeah, some of the stuff that he's done is not… he's certainly talked about in the locker room and not in a favorable way, I guess, is I would say. I mean and there's video evidence out there now, plenty of articles going back all the way to his college years of him maybe bending the rules or whatever he's been doing. As Brooks Koepka said, building sandcastles in the bunkers. So yeah, I think that him and his family have made their bed and they're gonna sleep in it, but on the same token, you know, if you're on a team, you want him on your team. He's a heck of a competitor. He closes out tournaments. He just doesn't really care. He almost plays better when the world's against him. So everybody's impressed with the golf game and his mental abilities out there, but I don't know anybody's going to dinner with him. Shon Crewe (16:53): All right, some quick questions for you. Every year, Golf Digest puts out a series of questions that they ask the tour pros, and I'm going to throw a few your way, starting with who's the funniest guy on tour? Joel Dahmen (17:05): I mean Pat Perez is up there. Colt Knost, who's recently retired, is great. I mean Pat Perez can shoot the sh*** with anybody. He's pretty good. Shon Crewe (17:16): (laughs) All right, what's the longest you've gone without swinging a club since you've turned pro, not counting any injuries? Joel Dahmen (17:24): Yeah, I took… I know I've for sure taken a full, entire month off, and that was November or December. Thanksgiving to Christmas is… this year, I played more with buddies. I didn't do a ton of practicing but just playing. Probably a month. I consistently, even when I'm home like I'm gonna have a couple of weeks off coming up, I will not touch a club for ten, twelve days, just hang out, do whatever, and then practice a couple of days before I leave again. Shon Crewe (17:58): Okay. Thoughts on winning an Olympic gold medal. How important is it to you? Joel Dahmen (18:04): I'd think the Olympics is for non-golfers. I mean, I love the Olympics. I love Winter. I love Summer. I am glued to the TV for all of those things. I think for golf, I mean we already have 40-some events here. We have four majors. We have World Golf championships. We have the Players. We play for too much money. And we never grew up with golf in the Olympics. So maybe for some of those people, I mean Dustin Johnson's already said he's not gonna play this year if he qualifies. So I think for most people, it probably doesn't register. I mean, the Olympics would be incredible, but just track and field and swimmers and bobsledders, and I just love watching that stuff. I think golf has everything we need as far as tournaments, so maybe take that out and give another cool sport an opportunity. Shon Crewe (18:55): All right, and last one, do you think the Players Championship should be considered a major? Joel Dahmen (19:01): Yeah, I mean, I think it is slowly shifting into… the players on tour certainly think about the Players Championship as a major. It's the best field in golf as far as top to bottom world rankings, so you can't argue about that. It's kinda nice they host at the same venue every year; it's got incredible finishing holes. Yeah, I mean if you had asked people probably on Tour, I bet they would say they'd rather win a Players than PGA if it counts towards their major poll. I would say, yeah. Jim Moore (19:43): All right, Joel. I've got a much more important question for you. How's your dog doing? Joel Dahmen (19:48): Oh, Murphy. He's a good boy. Yeah, about this time every year, he goes through some allergies from outside. We can't quite figure those out. But he's awesome. We miss him. We've actually been talking about bringing him out here on the road. It's easier on the West Coast, but I don't think he'd be very good in an airport or on an airplane, so we didn't train him for that, that's for sure. So yeah, he's awesome. He's probably on the couch wishing I was there, is what I'm hoping anyway, 'cause I wish he was here with me. Shon Crewe (20:18): Aw. (laughs) Jim Moore (20:19): Okay. I think you finished 12th at the Players Championship last year. I'm gonna tell you what I'm gonna do. If you win this year, I'm gonna do cartwheels through my family room. And I'm 62 years old so it won't be pretty, but I'm gonna put it on video, and I'll send it to you, and I'll have a celebratory beer with you across the country anyway and wish you the best this weekend. Joel Dahmen (20:40): I like that idea. Yeah, thank you guys very much. If I win the Players, there'll be cartwheels all over the 18th green and into the pond, and the beers probably won't stop for many days. Jim Moore (20:53): Okay, well, sounds good. Hey, thanks for your time, Joel. I know you're really busy and it means a lot to us, man. Joel Dahmen (20:59): Yeah, certainly. Thanks for having me on, guys. Jim Moore (21:01): That's Joel Dahmen, former Husky golfer, from the Players Championship. As we told you before the interview that he'd played the first round, he shot a 2-under 70 there at the Players Championship and then they made the decision, Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour Commissioner, to stop play and the PGA Tour won't be playing for the next month and a half, and that includes the Masters being postponed. Our thanks to Fairway Mortgages, Seattle for sponsoring The Golf Show. Your home isn't just a place to live; it's an investment for you and your family's future. Fairway Mortgages, Seattle offers a diverse collection of loan programs and takes pride in meeting your unique financial needs with the most appropriate loan, from conventional mortgages and jumbo loans to reverse mortgages and VA loans. 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