He matched up against future Hall of Famers like Fred Couples and Corey Pavin on the links.
Now, years later, Hudson will get another shot at the best talent in the world. Hudson will be alongside Couples, Pavin and other top senior golfers in the 31st U.S. Senior Open set for July 29-Aug. 1 at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish Washington.
Hudson qualified for the tournament last week by winning the U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Musgrove Country Club.
The Jasper native is looking forward to playing against the best.
“Couples, Pavin and a lot of those guys used to beat me back then. Now, I get to go up against them again,” said Hudson, who played for the Crimson Tide in the 1970s.
Hudson follows in the footsteps of his father, Travis Hudson, who qualified for the very first U.S. Senior Open in 1980 at New York’s Winged Foot Golf Club.
“This really means a lot to me,” Hudson said. “Dad finished in the top 20. He beat Arnold Palmer. It was such a neat treat. That was probably his crowning event. This is the biggest thing I’ve ever played in. It will be exciting.”
At Musgrove, Hudson beat the field by two strokes, shooting a two-under par 69. He was the only golfer to shoot under par in the one-day event. He didn’t know the outcome of the qualifier until all of the scorecards were accounted for.
“I started strong. I birdied the first two holes and shot a 32 on the front side. I birdied No. 7, but I also missed a couple of birdie putts. On the back I didn’t hit it like I needed to. I really hung in there, though, and made a couple of good pars. I felt like I needed to birdie the last hole, but I didn’t.
“I knew I was close because 69 made it last year. Gradually the scores came in. I got nervous as the last couple of groups came in. People started congratulating me, but I thought it was premature. I kept thinking somebody may beat me, but it didn’t happen,” he said.
What made winning the qualifier special was that he pulled off the feat at his home course.
“Playing Musgrove is always special. I always like coming back home and getting to compete there. I always have people pulling for me. I felt a lot of support. On the very first hole, there were people rooting for me,” he said.
Hudson, 52, had come close to making the U.S. Senior Open field each of the last two seasons. He finished one stroke away from a playoff in 2009 and was three back in 2008.
“I came close the last two years. It feels good to get through this time,” said Hudson, who played golf with Alabama head football coach Nick Saban at his lake home in Georgia one day after winning the qualifier.
Hudson has high hopes for his U.S. Senior Open appearance.
“As an amateur, if you can make the cut in an event like that, that’s very rewarding. To be the low amateur would just be a wonderful accomplishment,” Hudson said. “The odds are against me. It would take a miracle, but I believe in miracles.”