CINCINNATI - Bill Hanneken coached Andy Sanders for four years – including two state titles - on the Turpin High School golf team in the 1990s. He knew Sanders' personality well.
Hanneken’s strategy for the high school standout was simple: He stayed the heck out of the way.
That included the state tournament when Henneken remembers a cold, driving wind and rain couldn’t faze the rosy-cheeked Sanders as he marched toward his second state title in 1995 on the Ohio State University Scarlet Course.
(That year also included St. Xavier as state team champions with Jim Herman and Columbus area standout Ben Curtis as Division II state individual champion).
Sanders, who won the Division I state individual titles in 1994 and ’95, went on to play at the University of Houston where he earned All-America honors.
On Sunday, Sanders was a caddie for the victorious Jimmy Walker in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in Springfield, N.J., – one of golf’s four majors. Walker earned his first major with a 3-under 67 for a one-shot victory over defending champion Jason Day.
“I’m real happy for him,” said Hanneken, an Eastgate resident who coached Turpin from 1994 to 2011. “I coached him all four years. That was a pleasure.”
Sanders was an intense but even-tempered player in high school, Hanneken recalled. He kept the same attitude with statewide success as a sophomore and junior and even when he missed the state tournament as a senior.
“His dad was a golf pro,” Hanneken said. “(Andy) could do things with the golf ball he dad couldn’t understand.”
Hanneken was a science teacher at Turpin and had Sanders in class. Sanders took everything in stride even in the classroom, his former teacher said.
Sanders considered the University of Minnesota but managed to shy away from the cold climate. Instead he thrived at Houston becoming a three-time All-American.
Inducted into the Turpin High School Hall of Fame in 2006, Sanders played in the 2000 and 2002 U.S. Open while on the PGA Tour. He also played on the Canadian Tour and Nationwide Tour.
In 2000, Sanders met Walker, a Baylor standout, in the U.S. Amateur and a friendship was struck, according to Golf Digest. Later when Sanders was playing on the Nationwide Tour he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The two later connected again in 2008 with Sanders as a caddie.
“My playing career ended because of the medicine not the MS,” Sanders told Ted Bishop for the site “One Shot At A Time.” Those shots depressed me night and day. They gave me vertigo and losing my balance was the end of my playing career.”