Dottley will watch grandson in Japan tourney

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2003

[5/27/03]Kayo Dottley watched his grandson pick up a golf club for the first time at age 5. A few months later, he watched Will Dottley play his first tournament. A few years after that, Kayo watched with a mixture of pride and awe as Will surpassed him on the golf course.

In a few weeks, Kayo will look at his grandson with pride again. This time it won’t be for his skills on the course, though. it will be for where they’ve taken Will Dottley halfway around the world.

Will Dottley, grandson of Vicksburg resident Kayo Dottley a former Ole Miss football star will participate in the Toyota World Junior Cup Championship June 17-20 in Kobe, Japan. Kayo Dottley and his son Billy Joe, Will’s father, will also make the trip to see Will play.

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“We’re excited,” Billy Joe Dottley said. “We’re still stunned that he got picked, and we don’t really know what to expect over there.”

The youngest Dottley, who will play collegiately at North Carolina next year, is one of four selected to play for the American team against some of the best junior golfers from a dozen countries around the world.

“It’s awesome that I get to represent the United States. I’m really surprised they picked me,” Will Dottley said.

If they were looking for one of the country’s top young golfers, it should come as no surprise that the event’s selection committee found Will.

He started golfing when he was 5, and played in his first tournament soon after.

“He grabbed a golf club when he was a little boy, and off he went,” Kayo Dottley said. “Golf was meant to be his game.”

Both of Will’s parents, Billy Joe and Theresa Dottley, played golf at Mississippi State, but quickly learned they were no match for their son on the links.

A recent graduate of Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Dottley cruised to a Mississippi Private Schools Association overall state golf title this spring. He won all but one tournament he played in, and he tied for medalist honors at that one. At the end of 2002, he was ranked No. 8 in the world among junior golfers.

“He beats me like a yard dog,” Billy Joe Dottley said. “At my best, I was never near as good as he was.”

Kayo Dottley, himself an avid golfer, didn’t fare any better once Will was in high school. As the time ticked by and Will got bigger, Kayo watched his grandson pass him by like one of Will’s 290-yard drives.

“He beats me like a drum. He just hits it much further than I do … ,” Kayo Dottley said. “He’s just a long, long driver. He reaches most of the par-5s in two. When he was in eighth grade I was still beating him. In ninth grade, he started beating me and in 10th grade I couldn’t touch him.”

It wasn’t just on the golf course that Will excelled, though. He was also a standout soccer player and an all-state basketball player at MRA. Last week, he was selected as the MPSA male athlete of the year, and he is also a member of the National Honor Society.

“He’s gotten a lot of honors. Since January, they’ve been rolling in,” Billy Joe Dottley said with a laugh.

Will’s biggest honor, however, was the chance to represent his country overseas. A selection committee of college coaches picked several candidates and sent out applications. The team was selected not just on skill, but availability.

Will returned the application, and a few weeks later received a notice that he had been selected.

“I was very surprised at first, and then happy at the same time,” he said.