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William Yerkes a.k.a. billbadaz
What do the Kentucky Derby, golf and bourbon have in common? oobgolfer billbadaz. His wife introduced him to the Derby several years ago and now it's a passion. Enjoy.

How old are you and what's your occupation?
33, Area Sales Manager

When did you start playing golf and what's your handicap?
I started playing golf when I was 20. I went to Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach (Dustin Johnson’s alma mater) and had never played golf before. I met some friends on the PGM program and they talked me into playing. The rest is history. I am hooked. Handicap is 5.

How often do you play?
2-3 times per week

Tell me about a great shot you've made.
Par 4, 445 yards. It was 2 summers ago. Pushed the ball right off of the tee. Had about 190 left to the hole. I had a pine tree 12 feet in front of the ball, and more trees to the right, so I had to play a huge cut. I was in the 2nd cut, so I used my 3 hybrid to make sure I could get thru the ball. I opened up my stance and opened the clubface. I hit it perfect. It came out of the rough , made a right hand turn and started going right toward the front of the green. It landed short of the green, then rolled up about 6 inches short of the hole. While it was only a birdie, it was the best shot I have actually visualized, set up, and hit perfectly.

What is your best golf memory?
Golf Scramble, we were playing for a local charity. I was playing with some decent golfers, one played in college and the other 2 were low cappers. The first 6 holes I will never forget, since I eagled 2 of them myself. The first was a par 5, we used my drive and my 5 iron to have a 35 foot left to right putt for eagle. I hit it, and it was tracking. The “get in the f***ing hole" was yelled, and draino. The 6th was a short par 4, 325 yards downhill. Hit a perfect drive onto the collar and chipped in for eagle. I shot gunned about 4 beers following, and did not play worth a damn the other 12 holes, but we wound up winning shooting 19 under.

What is your "home" course?
Nevel Meade Golf Course

What ball do you play?
Titleist Pro V1

Clubs?
Drivers: TaylorMade R9
Fairway Woods: TaylorMade R9
Hybrids: Ben Hogan Edge CFT Ti
Irons: TaylorMade Burner Tour
Wedges: TaylorMade RAC
Wedges: TaylorMade RAC Z TP
Putters: TaylorMade Rossa CGB Daytona 1

Favorite pro?
Dustin Johnson

Favorite course you've played?
Torrey Pines

Dream course you've yet to play?
Pebble Beach

Best round ever- and what course?
72 at Glen Mary Country Club

What is one aspect of your golf game you would like to improve on in the next year?
Putting

Tell me a story.
In 1999, I met my wife in college. She was from Louisville, KY. I had never been to Louisville, never been to a racetrack, and was never involved in racehorses. We dated for a few years and graduated, and in 2002, I was invited to my first KY Derby. Now, if you have never been to the KY derby, put it on your bucket list. It is a great time. The entire month leading up the to the Derby is a party. There is a fireworks show, a parade, an entire Waterfront Park dedicated to the Derby with food vendors called the Chow Wagon, where they have KRISPY KREME CHEESEBURGERS, a hole in one Derby contest, and a Paddle Wheel Boat race. In short, it is what I look forward to the most every year.

Enough about the Derby festivities, let’s get to the derby. In 2002, I was living in Chicago. A horse named War Emblem, was just transferred the barn of Bob Baffert, who is one of the best horse trainers in the country. War Emblem ran in the Illinois Derby and won easily, with a very high speed rating, 112. I was intrigued by this horse. Everyone was dismissing him, and the early line odds had him at like 12 or 15-1. On the Thursday before Derby, we were at a Derby party, and 20 people put in $10 each to draw a name out of a hat. I drew War Emblem, and stuck the pick in my wallet, thinking I have a real shot to win. If he wins the Derby, I have $200 coming to me.

Saturday, we all go to brunch and then hit the track. It was amazing. The weather was great, the women were looking fantastic, and the Woodford Reserve was flowing. For my first foray at the Derby, I was doing ok at the track, but was not betting a lot of money. The Derby rolls around, and War Emblem is 20-1. I had to bet him. I did not care his odds were high or he was a front runner. He was fast, and I liked him. So, I went to the window and placed $200 to win on him. I was nervous as hell, being 24 at the time, that was a lot of money to bet on one horse, but I had a feeling. The gates sprung open, and as he passed our seats on the first turn, War Emblem was in front. My whole body went numb. He stayed in front the whole way around the track, and turning for home, had an easy lead. He was never challenged, and he won the Derby on the front end at 20-1. I was going insane.

I had just won $4300 on a horse race. I was hooked. I told my wife before we got married that I have 2 passions in life, golf and horseracing. If I ever wanted to do one or the other, she could not get mad at me, and she has stayed true to her word. I am passionate about golf, which all of you can surely understand, but picking a winner like that is something that changed my adult life as I know it. I now own part of a racehorse, go to the track on a regular basis, and have not missed the Derby since. I have been to the U.S Open, MLB Playoffs, Indy Motor Speedway, the World Cup, Cubs games at Wrigley, and NFL Playoff games, but nothing, nothing, compares to the Kentucky Derby. It is something everyone should do, at least once.

Tee em High, and let em Fly!

Thanks!

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[ comments ]
Kurt the Knife says:
The Long Shot King
4/14/11
 
bobhooe says:
Nice, it's that time of the year again. I live in Louisville as well and two F-22's just flew past my window preparing for the Air show that kicks off the Derby Festivities.
4/14/11
 
guzzlingil says:
The Derby is an awesome experience...
4/14/11
 
billbadaz says:
The air show tomorrow will be sick. Too bad the weather will stink
4/15/11
 
Banker85 says:
this is a bunch of malarkey. you tease me then this... i am heartbroken oob. Mustang sally let me down.
4/15/11
 
stuart189 says:
Great read, you need to get to Melbourne for the first day in November (Melbourne Cup) 100000 people and the whole city is just in party mode, In 2007 I was right at the finish line when I horse I had liked all year won the cup at 26 to 1 I had $200 each way check out the run

www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiNFZy7oEKo
4/18/11
 
Kanard1 says:
What's up sucks! Hope you are doing well we will have to get together when I come into town. My gf is a member at LCC.
4/18/11
 
Torleif Sorenson says:
Congrats, Bill -- it's nice to see you're serious about the Kentucky Derby, and that you're not just horsing around...
4/19/11
 
kyfrydan says:
Happy to here that you enjoy one of the best things about living in Louisville, Kentucky! Don't forget about Valhalla too!
4/26/11
 
billbadaz says:
Had Animal Kingdom in this years Derby, and his odds, 20-1!!!! WEEEEEEEE
5/11/11
 
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