PINEHURST, N.C. — Before he became a professional golfer, Paul Goydos was a substitute teacher at Long Beach Poly and at Jordan, Wilson and Stevenson, usually math, science and physical education.
"Glorified baby-sitting," said Goydos, who is tied for the lead after the first round of the U.S. Open. "But I grew up a lot."
The 34-year-old from Long Beach State has played the PGA Tour since 1993, he has won one tournament and earned $2.179 million, but he hasn't forgotten what it was like to work with kids or where he came from.
Goydos, who now lives in Coto de Caza, said he taught a lot of good kids who grew up in a rotten environment and got labeled.
"And that opened my eyes to the harshness of how life really is as opposed to the guys who play golf for a living," he said. "And it may have made me work a little harder."
Goydos has never finished better than a tie for 28th in a major, which he did at last year's U.S. Open at Olympic Club.
But Goydos remains in touch with his past work with young people. When he won a cyberspace game competition, the EA Sports Golf Challenge in 1996, he donated his $10,000 prize to the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital.
When the shooting incident at Columbine High School happened, Goydos was deeply moved.
"I think probably what hit me more than anything is that 99.9% of those kids in those instances were just going to school, taking history class or whatever, and all hell broke loose."
On the course, Goydos remains busy and there can be no substitute for winning a major, so he remains hopeful.
"Maybe this year," he said.