U.S Open Champ Tees Off for New Teams

Professional golfer Steve Jones, winner of the 1996 U.S. Open, and president Gayle D. Beebe

Professional golfer Steve Jones, winner of the 1996 U.S. Open, and president Gayle D. Beebe

Steve Jones, winner of eight PGA Tour events, including the 1996 U.S. Open, spoke as the special guest Sept. 4 at the home of a Westmont alumnus and friend of the college. The event, which followed a round of golf with Jones at the Valley Club, benefited Westmont’s new men’s and women’s golf teams that will launch in fall 2019.

“There’s no doubt that golf has helped me in my life, and it’s exciting that Westmont has a chance to start two golf teams,” he said. “The only problem you’ll have is that I’m not sure who’d want to come to Santa Barbara to play golf. You may have a challenge recruiting,” he joked.

Jones regaled the 40 guests with stories of overcoming injury to win the U.S. Open and the 1997 Phoenix Open. Although he won the latter by a staggering 11 strokes, Tiger Woods’ fist-pumping hole-in-one on the 16th hole grabbed all the attention.

Steve Jones chats with Dave Odell, Alex Nizet and Reed Sheard

Steve Jones chats with Dave Odell, Alex Nizet and Reed Sheard

Jones’ reflected that after winning the Phoenix Open, he went to the mall to get his hair cut from his long-time hairdresser. She excitedly told him she went to the tournament and saw Woods’ hole-in-one. “So, I asked her who won the tournament,” Jones said. “And she said, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ She had no clue. I can do a lot of stuff that Tiger can’t do, like go to the mall and go to the movies.”

Westmont seeks to recruit eight men and women for the first teams, and Dave Odell, Westmont athletic director, continues to review prospects for head coach.