Rich Parker teed up at the 1990 United States Open golf tournament, his first and only meddling in professional golf at that point, and didn’t make much of a splash. When play begins tomorrow in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open, he’ll try his luck again.
Parker, who spent the last seven years as Head Coach to the Dartmouth College men’s golf team and as local pro and general manager at the Carter Golf Club in Lebanon, New Hampshire, will play alongside Hale Irwin, Nick Price, and Jay Haas in the Senior Open, held at the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Washington.
Parker qualified for the professional event by shooting a round of 65. The score was good enough to earn him a spot on the course with Irwin, a tree-time U.S. Open champion. Parker’s former Open foray was at Medinah Country Club, where Irwin won the last of those three championships.
Parker (who PGA Tour winner Olin Browne described as “Jack Benny in a crew cut”) has grown contemplative with the passage of years, and somewhat detached. He entertains no misconceptions about the grand golfing galaxy, in which his isn’t exactly the brightest-burning or most immediate star.
“I know there’s a ton of people in New England who are following this, and this whole thing is awesome,” he recently told The New York Times. “If I play good, awesome. If I don’t, hey, I’m not trying to go to the moon or something. This is golf. It won’t be the last time I play.”