After my 19-year-old daughter, Dorothy, won the recent Giant Eagle LPGA Classic in Warren, Ohio, there was a lot of talk about my being one of those overbearing Little League dads. Let me set the record straight. Dorothy learned the game from me, starting when she was eight and tagged along on Saturdays while I played with friends. Since then I have been her coach, psychologist and caddie all rolled into one, but in no way have I been as controlling as, say, Jennifer Capriati's father or Todd Marinovich's dad.
I'll be the first to admit that I pushed Dorothy, but I did it because I was aware that she had a special talent. Ever since she was 10 and won her age division in the San Francisco City, I knew she had what it takes to become a standout golfer—at any level. Like a typical kid, Dorothy didn't like to practice. When she turned 16 she wanted to get a job to earn some money. I told her that her job was golf, and to be fair, I paid her to practice.
When Dorothy turned pro, I sold my carpet cleaning business so I could go on tour with her and protect my investment. While I didn't expect her to win as a rookie, I did count on her to play well. Eventually, I expect her to be one of the best players on the tour.
I know what you're thinking: I pushed Dorothy into golf so I could become rich and famous. That's not true. I told Dorothy that she has to help out her 19-year-old sister, Devina, who is an aspiring golfer; 14-year-old sister Dodisa, who wants to be a lawyer; and 11-year-old brother, Arsenio Jr. My payoff is the satisfaction I get from molding a great player.
Even though Dorothy has found the winner's circle, my work isn't done. There are many things she needs to learn if she's to become the best. The day she beats my alltime low score—a 63 at Skywest Golf Course, in Hayward, Calif.—is the day I leave her alone. Until then, she'll just have to deal with dear ol' Dad.