SIOUX CITY | Jesse Pease doesn't need to be the next Tiger Woods. He merely wants to continue and play the sport that he loves.
Jesse Pease, 30, of Sioux City, will get the chance to test his golf acumen when he and his dad Keith Pease compete at the Special Olympics North American Golf Invitational Tournament, now through Sunday in Phoenix.
There, the Peases will be joined by more than 200 golfers from 18 Special Olympics North America programs for the 18-hole competition.
Having already participated in three other national invitational golf tournaments, Jesse Pease wants to match or exceed the second place finish he and his brother Jason had while representing Iowa at the Special Olympics National Games, held in Ames, Iowa in 2006.
"I won a silver medal," Jesse Pease said of the victory. "I like to win."
Believe it or not, golf isn't even his best sport. That happens to be track and field.
Back in 2003, Jesse Pease was selected to represent the United States at the World Special Olympics Games in Dublin, Ireland.
"Jesse is such an amazing athlete," his dad and coach Keith Pease said. "He puts his heart into everything that he does."
Yet Keith Pease admits the road to victory has never been easy for his son.
"Jesse suffers from developmental disabilities and epilepsy," Keith Pease explained.
At times, Jesse could suffer several epilepsy seizures a month. This has caused him to have difficulties with his short-term memory.
"I've probably taught Jesse to count change a thousand times yet he simply can't do it," Keith Pease said sadly. "Jesse would say, 'Dad, you've already taught me this.' And when he'd tried to show me, he wouldn't be able to do it."
Jesse Pease's more severe epileptic seizures seem to have subsided, Keith Pease said, through treatment and medication.
A 2001 West High School graduate and a member of the school's varsity track team, Jesse Pease now works at McDonald's and Sam's Club.
"Jesse's never been the type of kid who wanted to be in front of a TV set all day long," Keith Pease said. "He's always had too much energy for that."
In fact, the Peases can be found at Green Valley Golf Course at least two or three days a week.
"Jesse's best score for 18 holes is 82 and he regularly scores between 88 and 95," Keith Pease said. "He's a darn good golfer."
Keith Pease said he wants his son's success on the golf greens and the track field will change people's minds when it comes to developmentally challenged athletes.
"Our family has always been athletic and competitive," he said. "It's only natural for Jesse to be the same way."