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The Loop

PGA Tour winner tells great story about elevator encounter with a golf fan who had no idea who he was

PGA Championship - Preview Day 2

Patrick Smith

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Adam Long pulled off one of the more shocking and memorable wins of the 2018-'19 PGA Tour season in February at the Desert Classic. After rounds of 63, 71 and 63, Long found himself in the final group with fellow leaders Adam Hadwin and a guy you might have heard of: Phil Mickelson. With a majority of the crowd cheering for Phil, and a Canadian contingent of fans pulling for Hadwin, Long himself probably didn't think he could pull off the upset that Sunday in La Quinta, Calif.

Not only did he win, he did it with a stunning birdie putt on the final hole, letting out a huge, well-earned fist pump for his first tour victory. For at least the immediate week after, Long was the talk of the golf world. The 31-year-old journeyman tour pro who had missed three of his first four cuts to start his rookie season had stared down Lefty and buried him on the 72nd hole of a PGA Tour event.

But you've got to do a lot more than have just one good week on tour to gain some real recognition from the casual golf fan. Just ask Shane Lowry, who needed to win a major before people finally figured out who he was. Long found this out the hard way Thursday morning on his way to Liberty National, where he was set to begin his first start in the FedEx Cup Playoffs:

No disrespect to Long, but even the most avid golf fan would not recognize him if he passed them on the street in regular clothes. However, if Long was in full golf attire, that same avid golf fan would at least wonder, "Is that a PGA Tour pro?" Especially if there was a PGA Tour event in town. Not this guy, who probably wouldn't even have believed Long if the player mentioned he was competing in the Northern Trust.

Long has missed more cuts than he's made since his victory, but he has had a few other decent finishes (T-10 at Bay Hill, T-19 at Colonial, T-21 at Travelers) that put him in a good spot heading into the Playoffs. Entering this week, he was 55th on the points list, which should be enough to get him to the BMW Championship (the top 70 advance) no matter what he does this week. If he happens to win in Jersey City, we're guessing that fan is going to be kicking himself on Sunday.