Doug Tewell started out as a caddy for his father at age 12 in Stillwater. Soon he began playing, excelled quickly and wound up playing for hometown Oklahoma State (1969-71). Tewell then became an assistant golf pro at Kickingbird Golf Course in Edmond, followed with a stint as an assistant pro at Camelback Country Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., and then became head pro at Pinetop (Ariz.) Country Club.
That’s when Tewell came to a fork on his career road.
His “Class A” rating with the PGA of America allowed Tewell an opportunity to join the PGA Tour in 1975. He tried to survive Monday qualifiers with other “tour rabbits.” Amazingly, Tewell was so proficient on Mondays he never had to endure Qualifying School, nor did he ever lose his PGA Tour playing privileges.
What followed were four PGA Tour victories in seven years, capturing the 1980 Sea Pines Heritage Classic (still his biggest thrill in golf), 1980 IVB-Golf Classic, 1986 Los Angeles Open and 1987 Pensacola Open. Other professional victories came at the 1978 South Central PGA Championship, the 1982 Oklahoma Open and the 1988 Acom Team Championship (with Bob Gilder).
Tewell won more than $2.7 million and had 60 Top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and eventually came to another fork in his career path with the 50-and-older Champions Tour.
Granted golf’s ultimate mulligan, a rejuvenated Tewell exploded onto the senior scene with eight victories from 2000-04. His first win as a senior was a major, winning the 2000 PGA Seniors’ Championship. Tewell won two more times that year and was voted 2000 Rookie of the Year on the Champions Tour, beating out legends Tom Watson and Tom Kite.
Tewell promptly captured a second career major by winning the 2001 Countrywide Tradition, where his 23-under-par total at The Tradition course was the lowest-scoring total in PGA history for a major championship.
Hampered by a recurring elbow injury, Tewell retired from the tour in February of 2007 after earning more than $7.7 million in seven full seasons as a senior. Combined with the PGA Tour, Tewell had career earnings of $10.5 million.
A 2007 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Tewell consistently was one of the game’s straightest hitters off the tee. From 1983-95, he never finished out of the Top 20 in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour. From 1990-95, he never finished out of the Top 5 in that category and led the tour in 1992-93. In his entire Champions Tour career, Tewell never finished out of the top four in driving accuracy and led the tour in 2002-03.
Tewell, who studied speech communications at OSU, also spent time as a golf analyst for the Golf Channel, ESPN and Fox Sports.
Since his 36-year pro career came to a close, retirement has allowed Tewell to devote time to local charity work such as the First Tee of Oklahoma City and to mentoring young golfers. He also has done multiple instructional videos.