Golf Still In Sun Devil Todd Demsey's Blood (East Valley Tribune, Sept. 7, 2006)

Sept. 7, 2006

Golf still in ex-Devil Demsey's blood

By Bill Huffman, East Valley Tribune

During his days as a Sun Devil, Todd Demsey piled up a shelf full of individual honors, and helped Arizona State win numerous team titles, too.

Among his personal trophy blitz in 1993 were wins at the World Amateur, NCAA championship, Pac-10 championship and Pacific Coast Amateur. He also was a four-time All-American at ASU -- first team twice -- and a winner of the Dave Haskins Award in 1995 as college golf's top senior.

From 1992-95, his team captured 18 championships for ASU, including a runner-up finish at the NCAA in '92. Along the way, Demsey was a teammate of Phil Mickelson's and played against the likes of such former college standouts as Tiger Woods, Justin Leonard, Jim Furyk and David Duval -- and always held his own.

Such a track record is why Demsey will be inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 29. As part of that ceremony, he will be introduced during halftime ceremonies of the ASU-Oregon football game on Sept. 30.

'That will be really fun, remembering what I did in college,'' Demsey said of the pending honor. 'You need those kinds of memories every now and again, if for no other reason than to remind you of what you've done. . . . and what you can still do.''

'Can't miss'' was the label placed on Demsey when he set out for the pro tours in 1996. And while he has played more than his share of Nationwide events over the past 10 years, as well as a one-year stint on the PGA Tour in 1997, injuries and other unforeseen factors have kept Demsey from fulfilling his promise.

'This is the first season in eight or so years (since 1998) that I haven't played on the Nationwide or PGA,'' said Demsey, who joined the Grey Goose Gateway Tour this season.

'In a way, it's been kind of nice to be home, even though ultimately I'm also in the process of getting ready to go back to Q-school.''

It is a dilemma many aspiring players face: You can't live with or without life in professional golf.

'I guess if there has to be a season to get away from it all, this was it,'' said Demsey, whose wife, Melinda, gave birth to the couple's first child, Maggie, on July 13.

'I hadn't planned on losing my status this year, but it's been great to be home, especially with the baby. If anything, it's reinvigorated me.''

Playing on the Grey Goose Gateway also has been an adjustment. Despite only one victory, Demsey has managed to win more than $65,000 for the season with top-10 finishes, and there are some key money events still to come.

'Not playing (on the Nationwide or PGA tours) is a little disappointing, but at the same time I'm proud that I've been able to make a living out there for all these years,'' said Demsey, who entered this season as No. 60 on the Nationwide Tour's all-time money list with more than $500,000 in winnings.

'Providing for my family through golf, and not owing anybody any money, well, to me that's a victory.''

There have been other W's of similar magnitude. For instance, Demsey has managed to overcome a chronic bad back that nearly derailed his career, as well as a brain tumor that threatened his life.

'The way I look at it, I haven't played as well as I can, but because I'm healthy again, I've still got a lot of good years left,'' said the 34-year-old. 'That's what I'm focusing on now, and I remain 100 percent committed to that.''

Even though Demsey also was an academic All-American during his hey day, earning a degree in psychology in 1995, he said he has no plans on ever using it on anyone but maybe himself.

'Or perhaps in my new job as a parent,'' he said with a laugh.

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