When Doug Doughty reported for his first day of work at The Roanoke Times on July 15, 1974, it didn’t take long for longtime sports editor Bill Brill to put his new hire to work.
“I had been hired as a hockey writer and Brill sent me out that day to cover the Roanoke Valley City-County women’s golf tournament,” Doughty recalled.
“It was at Ole Monterey and it’s a wonder I found the place,” said Doughty of the northeast Roanoke golf club.
“Don’t know what round that was or how many rounds there were, but Audrey Najjum won,” said the now 68-year-old UVa graduate.
“In a sign of the times, all the women were referred to as Mrs. or Miss, as in Mrs. Najjum and Miss [Anne] Patrick.”
Doughty later covered the likes of such top area women golfers as Najjum, Wythe Fleshman, Dot Bolling, Liz Waynick, Penny Stallins, Sara Cole and Lee Shirley.
Now you can add another name to the list: 2015 Hall of Fame Senior winner Marilyn Bussey, who will join Doughty as a inductee in the 2020 Hall of Fame class.
In addition to his work on the local scene, Doughty covered more professional golf than any other writer in Roanoke Times history.
“I think it was before the 1976 U.S. Open that Brill called me in and told me they were promoting me to national golf writer,” Doughty said. “I can’t say how many papers our size had a national golf writer, but at 24 or so, I covered Jerry Pate’s U.S. Open win at the Atlanta Athletic Club.”
He later covered U.S. Opens at Southern Hills in Tulsa; Cherry Hills in Denver; Inverness in Toledo; Baltusrol in New Jersey; Merion in Pennsylvania (twice). He also saw Open championships won by Larry Nelson at Oakmont; Fuzzy Zoeller at Oakmont; Ray Floyd at Shinnecock Hills and back-to-back wins by Virginian Curtis Strange at Brookline and Oak Hill.
“My best guess is that I covered 47 PGA Tour events,” Doughty said. “I know that because at the time, the PGA Tour had a policy whereby writers who had covered 50 PGA events or more were eligible for a lifetime pass. I still think about that.”
“Who can say they covered both Andy North Open wins and was less than 20 feet from T.C. Chen when he double-hit a ball at Oakmont Hills?” said Doughty, breaking into laughter. “That looked like something I would do.”
“Plus I was at Inverness in 1979 when the ‘Hinkle Tree’ was chopped down in the middle of the tournament that was won by Hale Irwin.”
Doughty was on hand for most of the Masters in the 1980s and had the luxury of being at Augusta National for Jack Nicklaus’ incredible triumph in 1986. He covered both of Seve Ballesteros’ Masters wins, plus a Tom Watson triumph. He was there in 1979 when Roanoker Ed Sneed was the runner-up to Zoeller, who took the crown on the second hole of playoff that included Watson.