LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Before there was Justin Thomas, the current PGA star from Louisville, there was Jodie Mudd.

Part of a family of golfers, Mudd learned the game at Shawnee Golf Course with his brothers from pro Moe Demling.  In 1979 and 1980, he won both the  Kentucky Amateur and Kentucky Open titles.  He was the number one ranked amateur in the world after capturing victories in back-to-back National Public Links. 

Mudd's pro career took off in the late '80's.  He had top 7 finishes six times in majors (3 each in the Masters and Open Championship). There were four PGA tour victories highlighted by titles in the Players Championship and the Tour Championship in 1990.  He finished fifth on the money list that year and had a coveted 10-year exemption on tour.  Six years later at age 36, he was out of the game altogether.

"I was going through a divorce, my priorities changed, it was a tough time for me," said Mudd.

Mudd said he always liked thoroughbreds so he dabbled in the horse business and golf course reconstruction, tried some different things. He made a brief reappearance in tournament golf in 2010 on the champions tour, but that only lasted five or six events.  He was remarried by then with a newborn daughter.  

Asked if he ever had any regrets, Mudd had this to say.

"I never really played the game for money. I just basically wanted to see how good I could get, what level I could compete on.  When I found that out, maybe it was my mistake, I didn't reassess those priorities and change those goals and I was kind of stumbling around for a while. All in all, from a kid that grew up in south end Shively, Cane Run Road, played at Shawnee, hey I had a pretty good career."

After fifteen years in Florida, Mudd returned to Louisville three years ago and just this April, he returned to teaching the game.  He's embracing his public links heritage by doing so at Charlie Vettiner Golf Course.  The head pro there, Mark Kemper was an assistant pro under Moe Demling at Shawnee when Mudd was at Butler High School. 

"He used to get dropped off every day by his mom or dad," said Kemper.  "And he'd play or practice all day.  Nobody worked harder."

Mudd hopes to use that work ethic and his vast swing knowledge to help others learn the game.  He can be reached at arcofapproach@gmail com.

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