Q&A: Past Washington State Amateur Champion Joel Dahmen plays his first major

Prior to him teeing off this week at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, we sat down with 2007 Washington State Amateur Champion Joel Dahmen.

by Garrett Johnston


Caddie Geno Bonnalie and Joel Dahmen are competing in Joel’s first major this week, at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Caddie Geno Bonnalie and Joel Dahmen are competing in Joel’s first major this week, at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

GJ: Could you have asked for better momentum going into your first major for you and your caddie Geno Bonnalie?

Dahmen: Probably not. I certainly played well at a tough course with a good leaderboard at Wells Fargo (two weeks ago and a solo second place, best career finish on the PGA Tour) and obviously we’re going to have that this weekend, but this course (Bethpage Black) is a lot tougher. I don’t think I’ve ever played anything like this. I’m playing the best golf of my life and hopefully we can keep it rolling.

Joel Dahmen Tee Times

GJ: The New York crowds out here, what do you think of them? Your caddie was saying you guys got booed for missing a fairway in your Tuesday practice round.

Joel: I certainly have not played in front of that before. It was just some light-hearted heckling and some quick-wits and some quality jabs out there for sure for a Tuesday afternoon. I played nine on the front on Wednesday and it wasn’t nearly as bad, but those last four or five holes on that backside, it gets pretty rowdy back there. It’s a lot of fun to play in front of that.

GJ: Can you give us an example of a quality jab from these New York fans?

Joel: We were playing No. 17, the par 3, on Tuesday with Adam Long and Corey Conners and we’re basically nobodies out here, even though they’ve both won on the PGA Tour this year. Anyway, we all hit good tee shots, it’s like a 4-iron, a pretty long shot and one of the fans said, ‘These guys aren’t half bad’, and just in that New York accent. Then another fan yelled out to us, ‘Need a fourth?’ Little things like that instead of hearing mashed potatoes and stuff, they’re actually a little better at it, more educated.

Bethpage Yardage Book

GJ: What are you most looking forward to in your first major this week?

Joel: Just competing again. It’s always fun to compete against the best players in the world. I don’t get to do that all the time, but The Players Championship (T12 with 2004 champ Adam Scott and 54-hole leader Jon Rahm) was a good one. Any time you get a really deep field is great. We have the top 100 here, I know Justin Thomas backed out but any time you have the best players in the world all at one place, there’s more electricity, there’s more buzz. It’s just kind of fun to be around that environment and see how your game stacks up.

GJ: So with all of the hype and electricity at your office at Bethpage this week, how will you take your mind off of work during the evenings?

Joel: I’m staying with Adam Long and Corey Conners and their wives are here along with mine. It’s pretty easy to come back to the house and shut it down and turn on the TV and relax. I always enjoy finding some good food. We’ll try to find some good local restaurants for dinner. But I’ve never had a problem turning off golf or turning my mind away from it. It doesn’t really carry me home, so not too big of an issue.

Garrett Johnston is a sports writer who’s covered over 25 major championships.