Big Break Mexico Competitor
Current Residence: Peoria, Ariz.
Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.
Home Course: Trilogy at Vistancia, Peoria, Ariz.
Profession: Professional Golfer
Personal: Married, two children
- More than 15 wins on the mini-tour circuit in the 1990s
- One victory on the 2012 Championship Players Tour
- Currently playing the mini tours and the Gateway Tour
When the chips are down, pick your head up and move forward.
That is the motto of Rob West. At age 41, he is the oldest competitor on Big Break Mexico, but his experience in overcoming adversity in life just might be his recipe for success on the series.
West took up the game of golf at age 13, and was immediately hooked.
“The golf course always has been a sanctuary for me,” said Rob. “From the time I was in high school, golf was the one constant in my life that I know I could always turn to when the chips were down.”
Rob had always dreamed of becoming a professional golfer. In high school, he recalls how he would cut hundreds of pictures out of golf magazines and would paste them on the ceiling in his bedroom, dreaming about one walking the fairways with the game’s elite.
Rob admits that he was not the ideal student growing up. “I just didn’t like schoolwork,” he recalled. “All I wanted to do was either go to the driving range or be on the golf course all day, every day.”
Rob dropped out of high school his senior year. However, his family knew he had what it took to get his degree if he just put some of his passion for golf to his schoolwork.
“My stepfather put me in a car and drove me to take an exam to get my GED,” said Rob. “I missed one question on the entire test, and that was without studying at all. It was an eye opener for me.”
Rob enrolled into Scottsdale Community College and earned a spot on the golf team as a walk-on. Having to pay his way through school, practicing, competing and studying proved to be too much for him.
He left Scottsdale Community College and began working full-time at a country club in Chicago the summer before returning to Arizona, where his life changed for the better. He began dating his future wife, Missy, whom he had known since he was 17. They were best friends and she was his constant support through his ups and downs.
“Missy also has been my rock, my foundation,” explained Rob. “I don’t know where I would be in life if she was not a part of mine.”
In order to support himself and his relationship, he began working in construction. Golf was the furthest thing from his mind at the time until he met a co-worker, Chuck, who also was an avid golfer. Chuck asked Rob to help him with his golf game, and the fire and passion for the game returned.
Rob began playing with Chuck at the 500 Club in Phoenix and was introduced to former PGA of America president Brian Whitcomb. Whitcomb saw the passion and raw talent that Rob employed, and Whitcomb and Rob’s longtime coach, Jimmy Person, helped Rob hone in his game.
Three years later, Rob told his wife he was ready to give professional golf a try and to start to chase his dream.
“Chuck, Brian and Jimmy were the saviors of my golf game,” said Rob. “I lost my passion for golf, and they brought it back out. I truly believe God puts people in your life to help steer you on the right path.”
Rob began competing on the mini-tour circuit with moderate success. But he wasn’t ready for the grind of mini-tour life. He missed his family, and through unfortunate circumstances, he lost his sponsors and ran out of money. He left the circuit and drove 28 hours home, deflated and defeated.
“I told my wife, ‘That was my one shot, and I didn’t do it,’” said Rob. “It was time to settle down and focus on the rest of our lives. But deep down that is not what I wanted. For years, I kept remembering all of those pictures I cut of out of those golf magazines. Even though outwardly I said I was hanging it up, deep down I knew I was not going to give up.”
For the next eight years, Rob and his brother joined Chuck at his new construction company. He and Missy gave birth to two children – Abby and Nolan. Rob was making good money, and decided to capitalize on the construction boom by starting his own company. It was a decision he now regrets.
“I’ll never forget the last words Chuck said to me before we parted ways,” recalled Rob. “He said, ‘Don’t go, you are making a mistake. Now is not the time.’ But I didn’t listen. Two years later, in 2010, I shuttered my business due to the recession and filed for bankruptcy.”
Closing the doors of his business was the tip of the iceberg for hard times for Rob and his family that year. His wife, Missy, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and his stepfather, who introduced Rob to golf when he was 13, passed away that same year.
“I wouldn’t wish that on anybody, to go what I went through the past few years,” said Rob. “I was lost, I didn’t know where to turn.”
He found solace on the golf course, his place of sanctuary. He also had the support from his father, Bryan, who was one of his biggest fans, and encouraged him to not give up on his dream. He worked odd jobs and tried to get back out on the mini-tour circuit, but admittedly he wasn’t ready, and the results showed.
It was on the golf course where he looked to the sky for guidance.
“Something just came over me, I can’t explain it,” said Rob. “I’ve always been a faithful guy, and I finally admitted that I can no longer do this alone. I owned up to everything that was going wrong in my life that day, and it felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders.”
Rob had heard about Big Break from mutual friends, and decided to apply. Two weeks after his “epiphany” on the course, he got the call that he was cast for Big Break Mexico.
“I knew this was too much of a coincidence,” said Rob. “When I told my wife, she smiled and said, ‘Now is your time, Rob. Go for it.’”