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Charlie is joined by PGA Tour Winner and Champions Tour Player Ken Duke as they play one of Myrtle Beach’s most popular designs, Wild Wing Plantation
Charlie: Today in Myrtle Beach, I'm at Wild Wing and I'm hanging with PGA tour winner, Ken Duke. I'm Charlie Rymer and this is Ridin' with Rymer.
Charlie: There he is, the nicest-
Ken: What's up man?
Charlie: ... winner in the history of the PGA tour, Ken Duke, my buddy. His only weakness is he'll show up late every now and where you been? I've been waiting for you for 20 minutes
Ken: I had things to do all day. You know what I mean? If you go ahead and hit and we can just get going.
Charlie: You're going to like this golf course, it's Wild Wing plantation, Avocet course, it's in great shape. You're going to like it. You're going like this too. That's sort of like a bad dream for you, Ken.
Ken: You got that right.
Charlie: All right, let's see what you got. That a baby. Come on, let's roll. All right, so Ken, I want to start with the most important stuff first. You been catching many fish?
Ken: I try, you know that. I always try.
Charlie: I know that, so give me some stories. I want to hear some fish stories.
Ken: I like to throw a little bit bait in the water quite a bit. There's times that I travel with a rod, come out and fish on courses like this as well, I just can't sit in the hotel that long.
Charlie: Well, I think one of the reasons that so many people support you in what you're doing in your charity and so many fans in golf follow you is you're very authentic and you're very grateful for where you are. Because going back to when you were a kid, at one point it looked like being a professional athlete wasn't in the cards for you. Tell me about dealing with scoliosis when you were a child.
Ken: I remember the day when my doctor said, the curve is gone into your lungs. You've got to have surgery. So I have a 16 inch steel rod, titanium rod in my back.
Charlie: Right now?
Ken: Yes. But it doesn't help me get distance. It does not help me get distance.
Charlie: Can you get through TSA?
Ken: Every once in a while, with the new updates they do. But I do a lot of hospital visits out on the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions to see kids that are in wheelchairs or in halos that, Charlie, they're not getting out of these chairs. They're never going to, why did I get to? So, it's about giving back and it just touches me whenever I get a chance to do that and just visit with somebody that I've never met and obviously they see those doctors all the time. It just gets old, so to see a friendly face here and there, it's great.
Charlie: So, you tell kids, "Hey, you've got this diagnosis, I had something similar too."
Charlie: And I've been able to become a winner on a PGA tour, that has to really inspire some of these kids.
Ken: All I'm trying to do is spread my story. I know if I was a young person, somebody came up to me like that, I would have been all arms and ears just to hear what they had to say, but no it's very nice.
Charlie: All right, Ken, we got us a drivable par four and at our age it doesn't seem like there's that many of those around anymore. I went at it too hard.
Ken: Gave it that little extra.
Charlie: That's almost putting.
Ken: Right there.
Charlie: How about that? Well, I don't want to pick on Nick Faldo, but let's pick on Nick Faldo a little bit. I love Nick Faldo and of course his work at CBS, but your scoliosis, that titanium rod that's in your spine, that has shaped your golf swing and he was not making fun of, but he was being a little critical of your golf swing and he didn't realize that you actually have that titanium rod in there.
Ken: Well, after about 50 or a hundred text messages, friends of mine's like, "Faldo does not know any history of you. He's a analyst. He should know." Right? So I had to go up and have a little conversation with him and say, "You know Nick, this is the why I have to swing a certain way." And, "You know what Ken? I didn't even know anything about that." That's all he said. And I said, "Well you should have." You just got to read up a little.
Charlie: Yeah, that's what he would do. He admitted to the mistake.
Ken: That's just part of it. And that's working with my teacher, Bob Toski, he has so many people that he has to work with and obviously take my helmet and what I have and make the best golf swing out of it as possible.
Charlie: I'm glad you brought up Mr Toski, I was going to get to that. You have had for a long time, a special bond with him. Correct?
Ken: Right. He changed my golf swing and I'm a lot more consistent, a lot more confident. You can go for days talking about his knowledge and still to this day, he just turned 93 a couple of weeks ago, still is sharp as a tack.
Charlie: It seems that your relationship with him is much more than student teacher.
Ken: It is. It is. Probably one of the memorable moments ever, Charlie, and you know there's list of them. Right? I had a chance to take him to Augusta when I qualified for Augusta. We're walking down number 10 at Augusta, at the top of the hill, and Mr Toski looks up in the sky and starts talking to all those guys, to [Merrin 00:05:14], Hogan, Snead. "Hey guys, look where I'm standing right now." It knocked me out, Charlie. It just knocked me out, I'm just telling you. But what a special guy he is. Obviously he's touched my life and many other lives. His first PGA tour win was at Wethersfield in Hartford in 1953, and 60 years later his student in 2013 wins the same thing. So why does things happen for a reason? It's just part of it. What a great view of this with the grass right there by the water.
Charlie: Yeah. That's pretty isn't it?
Ken: Woo. Silky.
Charlie: Yeah. Get it right. Get up baby.
Charlie: Okay. So like me, you're now North of 50, give us an update on where you are with the beginning of your PGA Champions career?
Ken: It's been good. I've had a really good run in the last two months and it's just been great just to run across to Tom Kite [inaudible 00:06:20], those guys that I've watched play when I was younger, they're still out there.
Charlie: And you sort of look at where you are with your game now, what part do you maybe need to sharpen up a little bit to get in that winner circle?
Ken: Well, I've knocked on the door a couple of times this year and had a good chance and my game has been great. The last 14 years, I've been on the big tour, so I came off of that and came straight out here. So I didn't have that four, five, six year lull time, the not playing competitive golf. So I've always been in it and I just love to play. I love to compete. That's what it's all about.
Charlie: Also something you're very proud of, a little bit more than your fishing, you've been able through your charity and having a really cool golf tournament every year to raise a lot of money. Tell me a little bit about that event and who benefits from that tournament that you do.
Ken: We do the Folds of Honor, which is the military and we try to do a couple of nonprofits down on Treasure Coast. So we kind of keep half the money at home and we give half the money to the Folds of the Military. So it's been wonderful. People are just knocking on doors trying to get in. We bring some country music friends in to play some music, some celebrities, it's Ken Duke and friends, Charlie, that's what it's all about. And that's why I'm inviting you man.
Charlie: I know. I'm looking forward to being there and it's not necessarily what you do on the course, it's what you do off the course as well.
Ken: It is and that's why I've been happy for what we do is obviously you can't do enough, but we try to do our part and donate to the all the charities that we can and keep the money around where we are. That's what it's all about.
Ken: Hey Charlie, thanks for having me. It's been a great day and a great course.
Charlie: Yeah, such a great day. All right Ken, finish it off with a birdie buddy.
Ken: Let me just roll this thing right on in there.
Ken: That's the way it always ends.
Charlie: Good run at it buddy.
Ken: Thank you so much.
Charlie: Great spending time with you.
Ken: It was fun stuff.
Charlie: Always a lot of fun getting out here to Wild Wing Plantation. Come on.
Ken: You got it.
Charlie: I'm going to let you buy me some dinner now.
Ken: Well, I always do that, Charlie, come on.
Charlie: Yeah, well, why do you think I brought you?
Charlie: Book your next vacation or get a customized quote at MyrtleBeachGolfTrips.com. That's the worst shot you've ever hit in your life.
Ken: [inaudible 00:08:52].
Charlie: I'm a PGA Tour winner.
Ken: I had to have a blooper. I kind of look at it, don't take anything for granted. And most of the times when you hit a bad shot, you're not even thinking, you're thinking about, what am I going to have for lunch?
Charlie: I'm definitely, I'm definitely think that.