This is not to suggest that the Wanamaker Trophy will lose its showcase position, but the silver cup that will have traveled all the way from Sao Paulo, Brazil? “It will go right in the living room,” Jon Curran said.
Of course first he’ll have to get to his living room, and that might be a while. Living life as golfers of his ilk do, Curran just left Brazil, is in Panama and next week will be in Louisiana.
After that, the 27-year-old Web.com Tour member will be in position to check out the living room in Tequesta, Fla., to see where he wants to put the trophy he earned for winning last week’s Brasil Champions. Curran knows that it won’t outshine the Wanamaker, awarded to his friend and former high school teammate, Keegan Bradley, for his victory at the 2011 PGA Championship. But it’s proof that Curran is progressing in his lengthy pursuit of a PGA Tour career.
“There’s no one direct path onto the PGA Tour. My goals are still what I set up for myself, and I know there are different ways to get there,” said Curran, who 10 years ago was the No. 1 player for the best high school golf team in Massachusetts, Hopkinton. Another standout was Kim Donovan, who would go on to a splendid career at Duke. Oh, and then there was the new kid who had moved in from Vermont, a tall and lanky guy by the name of Keegan Bradley.
They all achieved admirably in college – Curran at Vanderbilt, Bradley at St. John’s, Donovan for the Blue Devils – but the least-heralded of the three is the one who got to the big leagues first. Bradley never had the sort of junior career as did Curran, who was one year older. Although they went in different directions after college, their friendship persevered.
When Bradley stunned the PGA Tour world with a victory at Atlanta Athletic Club in his first major championship, no one cheered any louder than Curran. When Bradley’s finances improved dramatically and he bought a home in Tequesta, there was no doubt that Curran still would be his roommate. Though one roommate headed out for million-dollar purses and World Golf Championships in various corners of the globe, the one who packed his car to drive to Hooters Tour and eGolf Tour and Golfslinger.com Tour tournaments harbored no sense of envy.
“I wouldn’t change anything that has happened,” Curran said. “Keegan’s been an awesome inspiration.”
Last year, Curran won three times and topped the NGA (formerly Hooters) Tour money list, with $102,965. The success came at a crucial time, yes, but it never led Curran to lose perspective.
“I was staying patient, staying calm,” he said. “I was actually enjoying it. I met a lot of great people, and never once did I not that think I wasn’t where I belonged.”
Armed with confidence, Curran played in Q-School, wound up joint 42nd at the final stage, and earned status on the Web.com Tour for the first time.
That it took just three tournaments into his rookie year to post a victory is sweet vindication for Curran’s patience and doggedness. Bradley has long raved about his friend’s wedge game, “but I think one of the best things about my game is my mental outlook,” Curran said.
“I don’t do much to make you think, ‘Oh, my God. That guy is the real deal.’ But I know how to get it done.”
His third stop along a South American swing – Curran was T-21 in Colombia, then missed the cut in Chile – was worth a $144,000 check and a tweak to his expectations. “My goal starting the season was to win the money title,” Curran said, “and now that I’ve won, I know that’s very attainable.”