Richard Tardits was born July 30, 1965, in Biarritz, France.
In 1984, Tardits came to Augusta, Georgia, to spend some time in high school with friends of the family. He thoroughly enjoyed the international experience, and made the decision to attend an American college, the University of Georgia.
Tardits was informed by his father that he would need a scholarship to remain abroad. Learning that if you played sports well enough, the University would pay for your tuition and room and board, Tardits donned his rugby shorts and knee-high socks and showed up at UGA football practice.
On his first time on the practice field, Coach Dooley lined Tardits up at tight end and told him to block. Tardits promptly tackled the nearest defender. "So we figured we better put him on defense pretty quick," said Dooley.
Dooley thought that the walk-on would never pick up the game of football. However, Tardits had played two years for the French junior rugby team, a sport that is like football, without the pads, and goes 80 minutes without huddles. He was athletic, was used to contact, and had a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.
Coach Dooley knew he had something when after picking up just some of the rules of the game, Tardits began wreaking havoc as a defensive end for the scout team. It seemed that the first-team offensive tackles could not block him. Tardits seemed to always get to the quarterback, and his teammates began calling him, "Le Sack."
Opposing teams couldn't block Tardits either. Despite only starting one full season, Richard Tardits set a UGA record with 29 quarterback sacks, a mark that would last for 16 years.
Tardits was selected by the Phoenix Cardinals in the NFL draft, and played, mostly on special teams for the New England Patriots. Due to chronic ankle injuries, Tardits played just 3 years in the NFL. However, his athletic career would not be over. He tried out for the French bobsled team of the Winter Olympics, and in 1993, went back to rugby and excelled for the U.S. team.
Somewhere along the line, Tardits picked up the game of golf. When he left the U.S. and returned to France, he learned of the chance to own a golf course in the town of Pouzac. Tardits, who was an international business major and named Academic All-SEC in 1987 and 1988, recognized a great opportunity. He immediately jumped in.
Tardits recently opened up a new clubhouse for the course. His course will debut a hotel complex with 50 rooms, a swimming pool and tennis courts, and an area with 66 apartments in 2010.
Tardits is second from the left in the photo from La Depeche.