All of the game, None of the Love
By Peter Santo
It is a beautiful Saturday morning at TPC Boston for the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, and while fans are off watching the big names like Rickie Fowler, Rory Mcilroy and Jordan Spieth, the group of Harris English, James Hahn and Daniel Summerhays is getting ready to tee off on the short par 4 10th.
“This is the 8:54 AM starting time, now on the tee, from Sea Island, Georgia, Harris English,” says the starter. The very few fans in attendance applaud, and English smashes a 3-wood straight down the middle. Harris proceeds to knock his second shot on the green and two putt from 50 feet for a solid par. And with that, another day has begun on the PGA Tour, and the group begins the long walk to the difficult par 3 11th.
During the walk the players begin to distract themselves a bit from the pressures of playing on Tour, they mingle with each other and try to get their minds off the task at hand. “How you doin buddy” says English to me. “I’m very impressed you remembered me,” I reply. “Of course.” says English. The conversation continues as we walk side by side to the tee. “Gonna get the win this week?” I ask, “Nah I’m trying to win in two weeks. Trying to win the big bucks,” He replies. We forget that this is still a job and the guys are out there to make money.
The other two players in the group are still relative unknowns, Hahn won his first PGA Tour event at the Northern Trust Open this year, defeating Dustin Johnson in a playoff. While Summerhays is still searching for his first win, he has won over 5 million dollars in career prize money, and has put together a very consistent career.
As the round progresses, Hahn is recovering from his first round 76, Summerhays is steadily hanging around even par, while English struggles to follow up his first round 67.
As an eager fan following this group around the entire day, you get to meet some pretty cool people. Throughout the round I chatted with English’s girlfriend and pretty much the entire Summerhays family. I ran into and had a quick conversation Brandt Snedeker’s instructor, as Sneds was playing in the group behind. Each was wondering the same thing, why was I following this group of relative unknowns.
The answer to this question is very simple, I get to watch three of the best players in the world, witness some of their best shots, and some of their not so good shots, while not being cramped and surrounded by other crazy golf fans.
There are some things that you witness in person that simply blow your mind, TV just doesn’t do them justice. First, these guys hit the ball far, like really really far. English hit multiple drives 330 yards or more, but even the shorter hitters like Brendon Todd average 276 yards off the tee, a far cry from the driving distance of most amateurs.
Second, these guys can putt, and the greens they putt on are ridiculously tough. These guys would barely tap some putts, and still watch them roll 5 feet by.
Finally, these guys are never out of a hole, they can get up and down from anywhere. Matt Jones holed a bunker shot from a plugged lie on Monday, just ridiculous.
You really get to see just how unbelievable these guys are when you see them up close and personal. As for Harris English and the rest of the Tour, see you guys in Atlanta in two weeks for the Tour Championship.