Welcome to a season-long adventure with PGATour rookie Michael Boyd. The former Tulsa player earned his card lastyear on a wild ride through Q-School and will be sharing hisexperiences on and off the course.
As I write this I realize many of you out there have the day off today, and I hope you get to play a little golf. Maybe you had a little inspiration after watching Rory roll in that 15-footer in the playoff. Or, you could have been inspired by a 49-year-old (Bernhard Langer) on the verge of the Champions Tour almost winning. Or, you could have been inspired by Jim Furyk because you think your swing more closely resembles his rather than say, Ernie Els.
Well, I have the day off too. Actually, I have had the last week off. And rather than bore you with yard work and painting I thought I would talk a little bit about how my life has changed in the last two years. From the Hooters Tour to the Big Tour.
On the Hooters Tour you don’t fly to your events, unless you call going 78 miles an hour across I-20 flying. On the PGA Tour, you fly. Some guys even have private jets (as of now, I have yet to see the inside of one).
On the Hooters Tour you play a Wednesday Pro-Am and receive $60 and some wings. On the PGA Tour you actually don’t get paid to play in an onsite pro-am on Wednesday (score one for the Hooters Tour). But, you do get paid for Monday pro-ams, on site, off site, Wednesday off site, the Saturday Series. They have so many pro-ams you can play in 3 of them and make more money in those than 10th place in the Hooters event would pay.
On the Hooters Tour we would go to small towns like Miami (pronounced My-am-uh), Okla., Blytheville, Ark., and Greenville, N.C. We would go to Wisconsin in early May (its cold up there) and Philadelphia, Miss., in August (its hot, five people actually passed out from heat exhaustion). On the PGA Tour we go to Dallas, Miami, San Diego and we go to these places when the temperature is perfect. It should be called the 80 tour. They are always where it is 80 degrees.
On the Hooters Tour we eat at places like Cracker Barrel, Sharecroppers (one of the best restaurants out there, Blytheville should be proud), and Sonic (nothing like a cream slush after a long day of carrying your own bag and battling the elements and the course). Every once in a while we would hit an Outback or an Applebees (splurge). On the PGA Tour you go to places like Shula’s Steak House, Ruth’s Chris and sometimes a tour rep will take you out and buy your dinner (A lot of the guys like the regular restaurants too, but I’m trying to play this up a bit).
On the Hooters Tour I would drive into a town and find a hotel or motel (Holiday Inn Express, Howard Johnson, Super 8) and try to haggle the desk clerk down to a “reasonable rate.” “Do you have a weekly rate?” “How much if we pay up front for the week?” “What’s your triple A discount?” “What if I clean my own bathroom?” “Do you need help with the laundry?” Then we would split the room between 2 or 3 of us. On the PGA Tour I have my agent book a room (which means an assistant at his firm books a room) and I have to admit the bill at check out has made my jaw drop a few times. On the Hooters Tour at these hotels your room would include Internet, a fridge and microwave, and free parking. On the PGA Tour the Internet is $9.95 a day, parking is $17 a day, and you have to pay extra for a suite to get a fridge and microwave.
On the Hooters Tour it seemed there for a while that a new course record was shot every week. I once shot 66 on a Saturday and “vaulted” from T-25 to T-21. The courses usually have less rough and softer greens that run a little slower, making for ideal scoring conditions. Many of the players out there have played on the Nationwide and PGA Tour level, and some of the others will move up a level after this year. They can play.
There is one difference I have yet to mention and I was directly affected by it two weeks ago. On the Hooters Tour they have a policy that if you shoot 86 or higher you are not allowed to come back and play the next day. As some of you know in Atlanta I had an out of body experience and shot 86, but thanks to the lack of such a rule I was allowed to come back and shoot 70 the next day for a little redemption.
To the naked eye it seems that the PGA Tour is “the life.” And, yes it has always been my dream to play out here, and I will work hard the rest of the year to keep my card. But, I owe a lot to the Hooters Tour it prepared me to play out here on the Big Tour and I miss some of quirkiness of the experience.
My tip to you out there is that if the PGA Tour is in your home town or near you come watch, come root us on. But, if the Hooters Tour comes around go watch them too. Take a Saturday and follow a golfer. I guarantee you will see some good golf, get closer to the action than the PGA Tour and hey, it’s free admission. One of these guys just might be out here mixing it up next year and you can say, “I saw him back when …”
Grace and Peace,