Don's Competitive Years
From 1955 to 1970 Don Krieger was one of Oregon's finest golfers. Considering his tigerish style of tearing into a golf course, it may come as a surprise to learn that Krieger had a very uncomplicated approach to the game. "I've always felt that golf is mostly mental, so I've tried to keep my game simple. I figure that only two things can happen when I step up to a ball, so I don't wait around. If I hit it good, that's wonderful. If it's bad, well, that's the way it goes sometimes."
In 1956 a new game was added to the illustrious list of Oregon Amateur champions. Twenty-three-year-old Don Krieger of Columbia-Edgewater Country Club won the title, beating William Langley at Langley's home course, Portland Golf Club, 6 & 4. While few observers believed Krieger could win the title, many of his friends felt it could happen. After all, Don had showed considerable promise after winning the 1948 Oregon Junior title as a member of Broadmoor Golf Course in Portland.
Krieger qualified for the match-play segment of the U.S. Amateur three times. His most memorable U.S. Amateur tournament was in 1961 at Pebble Beach golf Links, where he defeated Bill Stewart, Payne Stewart's father, in the opening round 2 & 1. Krieger's next opponent was a young Jack Nicklaus. Krieger didn't survive his match with Nicklaus, but he gave him quite a go as he was even at the turn before bowing to the champion, 4 & 3.
A clear illustration of Krieger's longevity at the top of Northwest amateur golf is his 13 straight appearances in Hudson Cup Matches. Don spoke fondly of the matches, particularly a duel he lost to the legendary Chuck Congdon in 1964 at Seattle Golf Club. Without any hesitation, Don called Congdon "the best player I ever played against." In 1967 Krieger was quite gratified to win the Charles Congdon Award, signing him as the best player on that year's Hudson Cup Amateur team.
Krieger's worry-free attitude made him one of the fastest players in competitions. Observers of the 1964 OGA Champion of Champions tournament couldn't help but be reminded of Arnold Palmer's patented "charges" as Krieger surged to his second Champions title. Exhibiting Arnie-like heroics, Krieger stroked his game into a fury while shooting a record-equaling six-under-par 30 on Columbia-Edgewater's back nine.
After retiring from competitive golf, Krieger turned his efforts to the administrative side of the OGA, serving the association for 25 years in various capacities. When he was appointed the OGA's President in 1987, Krieger set three goals for the association. First, he wanted to attract more golfers to the OGA. Secondly, he wanted to operate the association as a business and, lastly, have the OGA construct and operate its own golf course.
The last goal is Don Krieger's legacy to Oregon golf. After opening its full 18 holes in 1996, the OGA Member's Course at Tukwila, located in Woodburn, is blessed with a delightful and walkable layout which meanders through a filbert orchard and appeals to players of all skill levels. Response to the William Robinson-designed course is very positive, both from OGA members and visitors. The next phase of the course's development is construction of a clubhouse, to be financed entirely from revenues generated by the course.
The OGA course represents the foresight of Don Krieger, who managed to draw more golfers to the OGA and benefit the association by instilling a businesslike approach. For that, as well as a fine competitive record, Don Krieger was inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame in 1993.