May 19, 2012
By Jon Cooper
David Dragoo is the kind of player that you can’t help but root for.
The Scottsdale, Arizona., native (he currently resides in Phoenix), brought his left-handed-swing to Georgia Tech in 2005 and, until he left in 2009, did nothing but work, and work and work some more until he worked his way into the lineup.
A five-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and a Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) All-America Scholar in 2008, Dragoo was on the 2005 NCAA Tournament runner-up and was part of three ACC Champions. His best year was 2008, when he earned the Watts Gunn Trophy, awarded to the team’s Most Improved Player.
After graduating Summa Cum Laude in Economics in 2009, Dragoo set his sights on playing professionally. He finished as runner-up at 2010 Canadian Tour Qualifying School and has been playing on the Canadian Tour since 2010. He’s worked his way up there, finishing 72nd his first year on the tour, and was 25th in 2011, recording his first top-3 finish.
Dragoo won his first pro tournament in April, taking the NAFTA Cup, held at the La Marina golf course in Mazatlán, Mexico, topping a field of approximately 120 from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
He’s planning a busy summer on the Canadian circuit and internationally, then will take his shot at PGA Q School, where he’ll try an attain his PGA Tour card.
Dragoo still stays in touch with his former teammates and the Georgia Tech program, dropping in on Head Coach Bruce Heppler and the team every now and then, when his schedule permits.
Last Monday, was one such day, as he visited and hit some balls with the group as it prepared for the Southwest Regional.
That was where Sting Daily caught up with Dragoo and talked with him about a number of subjects ranging from playing golf world wide, where he’d like to be playing in September and how he’s never far from a Georgia Tech alumnus no matter where he’s playing.
STING DAILY: Where have you been and how is life playing professionally?
David Dragoo: I’ve been playing on the Canadian Tour for about two years and have been playing really well. I was one of the best Americans out there. I’m going to go back in June and play until about September. I just got back from South Africa, playing on the South African Tour and I won my first event in Mexico, about three weeks ago, the NAFTA Cup, in Mazatlán. That was good.
SD: What is the biggest difference between international and American courses?
DRAGOO: I would say, generally speaking, the international courses probably aren’t in as good condition. The American courses, they’re open earlier and they stay open later but the quality of the courses is fine. Some of the international courses are some of the best in the world. From a day-to-day standpoint I’d say the conditioning is probably better in the U.S., but that’s it.
SD: In your years you won three ACC Championships and were part of the current run of four straight ACC titles. Did you recognize the dynasty you’d be starting?
DRAGOO: It’s always been a dynasty. Before I got here it was a dynasty. With Coach [Heppler] and the players, it’s just a matter of time. He gets them ready to play and [the ACC Tournament’s] a tournament that we own. We always play well there.
SD: What is your favorite memory of your years at Georgia Tech?
DRAGOO: I’d say probably winning the ACC Tournaments. Anytime you can get a ring that’s good.
SD: Describe the feeling of winning the ACCs just about year after year. Did winning it ever get old?
DRAGOO: It never gets old getting a ring. It always feels special and it’s always something you remember. So winning never gets old.
SD: What’s on the agenda after September?
DRAGOO: After September you go to [Qualifying] School, so I’ll go to PGA Tour Q School in the fall, which is October, maybe the middle of October. You play three stages in the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. You have to make it through each stage to move on. If you make it to the top 30 in the final stage you get your PGA Tour card.
SD: How closely do you stay in touch with former teammates and the program?
DRAGOO: I follow the alumni pretty well. We keep in touch. Bryce Molder had a Hall of Fame dinner in November, I came back for that. I’ll see Cameron [Tringale], Roberto [Castro], Chan Song. So we all keep in good touch. I probably called Coach [Heppler], a dozen times this year. I always wish him luck when they have tournaments, things like that.
SD: Does playing professionally resemble a Georgia Tech alumni reunion?
DRAGOO: You do see a lot of guys at the tournaments, really, every week. It’s nice to catch up because we’re all traveling and doing our thing. It seems like the tournaments are kind of the time that we can catch up a little bit.
SD: How tight is Georgia Tech alumni fraternity on the tour?
DRAGOO: It’s an individual sport but we all kind of stick together and we always know how each other is playing.