The Loop

An aspiring tour pro and his novel approach to funding his quest

February 26, 2015

Some aspiring tour pros find sponsors to finance their quests. Many have taken to crowdfunding. Former Oregon State golfer Vincent Johnson, meanwhile, has come up with his own novel way to subsidize his career.

Johnson is hosting a golf tournament March 9 at Oregon Golf Club in West Linn, Ore. The event, a scramble, is patterned after so many charity fundraisers, though in lieu of a charity, the beneficiary is himself.

A former Big Break contestant on Golf Channel, Johnson, 28, is attempting to raise money to play the PGA Tour Canada this year, the first hurdle in a two-hurdle process to get to the PGA Tour. The top five money winners in Canada gain exemptions onto the Tour, the gateway to the PGA Tour.

Johnson's tournament is a five-person scramble and the cost is $200 per player. Included will be a celebrity clinic hosted by former PGA Tour player Brian Henninger, an Oregon native and now a teaching pro.

Johnson is not without credentials. He won two college events at Oregon State and in 2009 was the first recipient of what then was called the Charlie Sifford Exemption into the Northern Trust Open, awarded to a player "who represents the advancement of diversity in golf." It's now called the Northern Trust Open Exemption. He missed the cut. A year later, he won the Long Beach (Calif.) Open.

As for his fundraiser, consider that Johnson graduated from Oregon State in only three years with a degree in finance. His education clearly has not been for naught.