When the final stage of Champions Tour Q-School gets under way at TPC Scottsdale today through Nov. 22), some of the 78 pros in the field will be playing hooky from their day jobs.
After a decade-long absence as touring pros, Charles Raulerson and Doug Dunakey are back with Champions Tour cards dancing in their eyes.
Raulerson, who turns 50 in January and is first alternate this week, left the pro ranks in 2003 to help raise his daughter, who is autistic, and run a golf-course management company he started in Jacksonville, Fla.
“I’ve worked my butt off for 10 years so I don’t have to be at the counter and can go play,” he said.
Dunakey, who once shot 59 on the then-Buy.com Tour (now Web.com Tour), has been even more removed from the game. He worked as a reading teacher, most recently at Lemon Bay High School in Port Charlotte, Fla.
“The biggest change was getting my first paycheck and realizing, ‘Wow, I used to get this much for one day’s work,’ ” he said.
Dunakey said coaching the high school golf team got his competitive juices flowing again – so he took a sabbatical to try his luck at Champions Tour Q-School, where only the top eight will be fully exempt for 2014. Both prepped for the first stage of Q-School by playing against “the kids” on the Orlando mini-tours, and shared a similar attitude that they had nothing to lose.
“If I don’t get my card,” Dunakey said, “my job will be waiting for me second semester.”