Keeping Up With 1984 Mid-Amateur
Champion Michael Podolak
March 7, 2005
When Michael Podolak won the 1984 U.S. Mid-Amateur at the Atlanta
Athletic Club, he was only the second USGA champion to hail from
North Dakota (Beverly Hanson of Fargo, the 1950 U.S. Women's
Amateur champion, was the first; Shane McMenamy of Grand Forks,
the 1996 U.S. Junior champion, has since joined them).
"I take a lot of pride in that," says Podolak, now
50, and a resident of Oxbow, a small town 10 miles outside
Podolak had quite a run at that championship, defeating
two-time USA Walker Cupper Martin West in the third round, 3 and
1, and former British Amateur champion Dick Siderowf in the
quarterfinals in 20 holes. To reach the championship match, he
ousted David Jacobsen, the brother of 2004 U.S. Senior Open
champion Peter Jacobsen, in 19 holes before beating another USA
Walker Cupper Bob Lewis Jr. (Podolak and Lewis were teammates on
the 1985 squad), 5 and 4. Lewis will once again captain the USA
Walker Cup squad this August.
Today Podolak's priorities are his wife and two daughters
and his insurance business, Podolak and Associates, although
being his own boss also has allowed him to keep his golf game
"It's an easier fit than being a doctor or a regular
'9-to-5-er,' " he says. "You don't have
anyone to answer to."
Among his future goals are to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open
and win the USGA Senior Amateur. "When you win something
like [the Mid-Amateur], it elevates your game," says
Podolak, who also played on the 1985 USA Walker Cup team,
"and you realize, you're a better player than you
thought you were."
Story written by Alan Bastable of Golf Magazine