Rookie diary: How PGA Tour pros travel

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June. 9, 2010

Last time I checked in, I had just finished up at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio and also flown in a T-38 Talon at Randolph Air Force Base. A lot has happened since then, so here we go…

This short story is designed to display the lifestyle and travel necessary for playing on the PGA Tour:

• After finishing up one of the longest and most tiring days of 36 holes in San Antonio Sunday, we rushed to the airport to catch a charter flight full of players and caddies headed for Dallas.

• We barely caught the charter and had a quick flight over to Dallas where we arrived about 10 p.m.

• I then registered at the airport and was given my courtesy car for the week of the HP Byron Nelson.

• I finally got to bed around midnight Sunday night only to be awoken by my Augusta theme song alarm clock at 4 a.m. to catch my 6 a.m. flight from Dallas back home to Columbus, Ohio, to play my U.S. Open local qualifier.

• Left Dallas on time at 6 a.m. and arrived to Atlanta at 9 a.m. local time. I had a short layover in Atlanta and was on to Columbus with an 11:50 arrival and a 1:15 tee time. Luckily, my clubs and clothes were one of the first to arrive at baggage claim and I hustled from there to get to the course, which was about 40 minutes from the airport.

• I arrived at 1 p.m. and made my tee time only to grind for 5 hours in the pouring rain. I played poorly and shot 73 which was somehow good enough to get into an 8-for-1 playoff for the last alternate spot in the sectional field. I birdied two of the first three holes in the playoff to win the last alternate spot.

• I was officially out of gas that night and slept like a rock only to hear the Augusta theme again way to early to catch my flight back to Dallas for the HP Byron Nelson. Admittedly, I made a few errors in the scheduling of things, but thankfully it all worked out and I was able to play a lot of golf.

My “off week” at home in Columbus was filled with the first enjoyable outing for Grange Insurance, one of my biggest sponsors and supporters. I always enjoy hanging out with the Grange guys and playing a little fun golf at Tartan Fields. Not to mention the free food!

The week was going well but got a huge boost on Friday night and Saturday morning when I got a phone call from the Memorial Tournament director Dan Sullivan. I was understandably a little disappointed when I did not receive an invitation to the Memorial a few weeks prior. I received one last year so I can understand not getting in two years in a row. Anyway, a phone call from Mr. Sullivan was quite exciting even though I did not know what it was about. After discussing a few things with him, he told me they had a spot open up at the last minute and that he wanted to extend an invitation to me for the tournament the following week. I was so excited. Playing the Memorial Tournament last year was one of the greatest experiences I have had to date in my golfing career and I was sure thrilled to be playing again a mile from where I grew up.

Needless to say my golf results the past few weeks have been lackluster, but I am still working very hard and need to just keep playing my way out of this little slump. I am on the plane as we speak heading to Memphis for the St. Jude Classic this week where I hear it can get quite hot and humid.

Looking forward to chipping and putting well and eating lots of BBQ here in Tennessee!