Augusta native is 'still having fun'

Jim Dent won 12 times on the Champions Tour while earning almost $10 million. He ranks in the top 30 on its money list.

CONOVER, N.C. --- The pro-am round was well short of ideal.


A cold front dropped temperatures into the 50s. Gray clouds poured intermittent showers. Jim Dent just smiled.

The 71-year-old Augusta native doesn't let bad weather affect him. And after a two-decade run of success on the Champions Tour, Dent is not concerned by his recent play.

"My game's been great for a long time and it's still good," he said. "As you get older, things are still as good as they used to be. It's just that other guys are a little better and younger. But I'm still having fun."

Dent tees off today in his ninth official event of the year at the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn. He is looking to improve upon his best finish of the year, a tie for 73rd place.

A former Augusta National Golf Club caddie and Paine College student, Dent won four professional events before joining the Champions Tour. Playing with the 50-and-over set, Dent found his golfing groove.

In his first season in 1989, Dent won twice and posted two runner-up finishes, The next year, he doubled those numbers, winning four times and placing second four times.

Dent won 12 times on the Champions Tour as well as nine Grand Champions (60 and over) victories.

Dent said he doesn't plan to retire next year. Instead, he'll play a limited schedule of about four tournaments. And he's content with that.

At his home in Tampa, Fla., Dent, who has two adult children. stays busy with his wife, Willye, trying to rear three adopted children: 15-year-old Victoria and 11-year-old twin boys, Joshua and Joseph. Victoria is active with cheerleading and tennis. The boys play basketball and golf.

"It's fun to have them," Dent said. "The older kids, we didn't have that much fun with them. Now, it's lots of fun."

Dent occasionally returns to Augusta to visit family. And he keeps an eye on Augusta Municipal Golf Course.

In April, Dent mentioned a possible proposal of getting the members together and buying the beleaguered course where he sharpened his skills. Earlier this year, Augusta State University mentioned buying "The Patch" to expansion its campus. In September, a pair of golf course developers from Scotland and Savannah, Ga., had their bid to purchase the course rejected because they didn't have a business license.

"It's a good place. It's a good thing," Dent said. "I might be able to get around to buying it in the next six to eight months if everything works out."