Ryan Torres can’t believe how quickly it is going. The Flowing Wells senior has only a couple weeks left in his prep career. This weekend will be the Southern Arizona Invitational at Dell Urich and then next weekend is the Flowing Wells Boys Invitational and then that’s that. (Other fall sports—football, volleyball, and swimming—stretch into early November, but they get the kids off the courses early to make way for the arrival of high-paying snowbirds.)
“Man, it’s over fast,” he says. And, as with all high-school athletes of this period, COVID took its toll. But, fortunately, Ryan has other things going for him, as well. An outstanding student who plans on attending the University of Arizona next year to study business management, he is also a member of the Caballero Marching Band, in which he plays clarinet.
“I love music,” he says, and his favorite part of school is Jazz Band class.
Ryan’s coach is Ken Urdahl, something of an underground legend in these parts. Of course, there is the stuff about how he used to go head-to-head with Phil Mickelson back when both of them were stars on the spoiled-rich-kid junior golf circuit. But that’s just gold. What’s really interesting is how Urdahl came to be known as “E-Dog,” a name that has stuck with him for three decades.
Back in the early 1990s, Urdahl, fresh out of college, became part of the Brian Peabody Mafia. The legendary Peabody, now the men’s basketball coach at Pima College, had won a state championship at Green Fields Country Day School his first-ever year of coaching varsity basketball. He made it back to the state title game his next year before being hired away by Green Fields’ in-town rival, St. Gregory (now The Gregory School), which he took to the state semifinals.
By that time, Urdahl, a hip-hop aficionado, was working at Peabody’s summer camps, reffing high-school summer leagues and basically hanging out. One of the down-time activities of the group was playing dominoes. One time, the guy keeping score asked Ken’s last name and mistakenly wrote down for Urdahl’s initial. When Ken asked who the “E” was for, he was told, “That’s you! That’s your hip-hop name. You’re E-Dog!”
Making this story almost tragic is that the birth of his nickname coincided with the emergence of a Seattle rapper who went by the name of E-Dawg. The rapper was horrible, but E-Dog would cruise through town, blasting E-Dawg.
Urdahl made it through that stage of his life and became a respectable member of the community. Ryan Torres is glad to have Urdahl for a coach. “He has helped me a lot. I’m not a scratch golfer, but I’m a bogey golfer and that’s pretty good.”
The Caballero squad is a mixture of returning veterans and first-timers and it shows. It’s been an up-and-down season, but one Torres wouldn’t have missed for anything.
“I’m glad I got to play. And I’m glad I got to play for E-Dog,” Torres said.