A new baby and a new chance for Jason Allred
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Jason Allred, who went from Monday qualifier to a third-place finish at the Northern Trust Open two weeks ago, was back to work Wednesday at PGA National, just two days after the birth of his third child, a daughter, born back home in Arizona.
To say it’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Allred, who last held a PGA Tour card in 2008 and had only limited Web.com Tour status this season, would be something of an understatement.
Along with his emotional third-place showing (and $388,600 in earnings) at Riviera came a start at the Tour’s next full-field event (top-10 finishers usually get into the following-week’s event), which, with the WGC Match Play on tap, happened to be this week’s Honda Classic. With a baby due and a big tournament invitation pending, the Allreds were at an interesting crossroads. His wife, Kimberly – after reminding Jason that their so-called “problem” was a great one to have – offered a solution.
“Maybe you can care for our family best by going to play,” she told her husband. “Play your heart out and take care of us that way.”
Adds Jason, smiling, “My wife is just awesome.”
Of course, the couple had hoped their baby would arrive before he had to travel. Late last week, Jason said Kimberly “was eating spicy foods and taking long walks.” But alas, as his Monday flight to Palm Beach drew closer, no baby.
He was playing the 15th hole at the Silverleaf Club in North Scottsdale, Ariz., still a few hours before he was to fly, when a call arrived. Kimberly was ready. He got to the hospital in time for the birth, which was at 1:25 p.m., or about 30 minutes before his original flight was to depart. He stayed on, spending the entire night at the hospital with his wife. He didn’t get much sleep, but that was just fine with him.
“Just looking at my wife and daughter … even though we had made the decision that I was probably going to come anyway with the chance of missing it, I mean, I can't even tell you the joy and gratitude I had that I got to be there for that,” he said.
On Tuesday, there would be a new flight to catch, and though he admits it wasn’t easy to leave, Allred boarded it. In his situation, scrambling to earn opportunities to ply his trade as a golfer, the 33-year-old knew it was a necessary move. With a young family, and on his way to earning only $37,096 on the Web.com Tour in 2013, Allred even considered quitting the game last summer to find a “real” job, but he isn’t really sure what he’d do. In the end, the thought of venturing into something else only strengthened his resolve to stick to his golf.
The FedEx points Allred earned at the Northern Trust (163) are enough to get him into the Web.com Finals this fall. It’s a start. And playing well this week at Honda would move him closer to his goal of attaining special temporary membership on the PGA Tour. He needs to equal or surpass the FedEx Cup point total of last year’s 150th-place finisher (278 points).
“Jason looks at this week as a true opportunity,” says Allred’s longtime agent, Tommy Limbaugh. “He’s playing so well, and if he plays well here, he’s got a chance to earn his card. That would be a big jump from having no status. He’s 33, and he’s more mature. He’s always had the game. He just hasn’t always had the opportunity.”
Starting Thursday, when he tees off at 1:25 p.m. off No. 10 alongside Jim Renner and Chesson Hadley, Allred, who played two full seasons on Tour (losing his card after the 2008 season), gets his chance.
“It was certainly not easy to leave (home) . . . but at the same time, I just feel like this is an amazing open door I've been given, and potentially, in a practical way, I can really love and honor my family by trying to take advantage of it,” he said.
He’ll certainly have a lot of fans pulling for him this week.
Oh, the name of his new family addition? A little girl named Lucy Hope. The Hope part really resonates.
“Seems appropriate at a time like this,” Allred said, “when we have so much to be thankful for.”