Undercover Tour Pro: The Single Life
Illustration by John Cuneo
It's kind of weird to say that I'm a millionaire and I'm not even 35, but it's the truth. I'm on a good run of seasons finishing inside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup. My endorsements might be shavings compared to some of the bigger names, but there's one thing I wouldn't trade: I can walk into a bar and nobody knows who I am.
Which brings me to the one piece of advice I give anyone trying to make it on the PGA Tour: You don't have to stay three minutes from the golf course. It's the mistake all these rookies make.
We get to travel the country, sometimes the world, and what do they do? Lock themselves in the same Courtyard Marriott or Hilton Garden Inn again and again. Now they can practically smell the range from the room. You have almost no choice but to wear yourself out practicing for five hours after every round. It's golf. It's never all going to be perfect. Notice how not many of the top-10 guys hang out all day.
More important, you're probably single. Go to any bar near the tournament and it's going to be filled with dudes, mostly the ones you work with. All the caddies, staffers, equipment reps, media—a lot of guys who just have crushes on Rickie Fowler, anyway. If you want to find action, book a hotel in the nearest real city.
Obviously, some weeks are better than others. At The Greenbrier Classic, I'll just hang out at the resort like everyone else. But if I'm playing The Barclays, I always stay in Manhattan. For the Deutsche Bank, I'm in downtown Boston. Even for the Frys.com in Napa, the drive to San Francisco isn't terrible. Who cares if it's an hour to the golf course? No matter where we tee it up, you're always going to be driving against the traffic. Plus, our courtesy cars are almost always luxe.
And if you're going to be out late chasing tail, ordering Uber or a taxi is going to be a much smoother process in a city than some random gated community off the Interstate.
If you're a decent-looking guy and can find upscale bars, you should have no problem. Though it's amazing some of the dorks out here who still manage never to seal the deal. A lot of golfers play the "I'm a professional athlete" card way too early. Not only is it a douchey move, but I need to develop a good feeling about a person before I let her know who I am.
It's a different world with social media nowadays. She might seem nice, but give it a week, and she's out to burn you.
Believe it or not, some players have posted profiles on hookup apps like Tinder, where you put a picture and a first name. As "mini" celebrities, that's just asking for trouble.
I'll never go near Tinder now, but sometimes I do wonder what it would've been like to have that technology in college. Talk about layups.
Then again, a lot of scoring still happens the old-fashioned way, at the course. You'll notice a woman in your gallery. She walks for a couple of holes. You say hi. You exchange phone numbers. Done.
Maybe one day I'll be a marquee player getting huge money to mingle at corporate parks every night. But for now, I'm enjoying where I am in life. It's good to be the stranger with the $18 martini in his hand.